Hyderabad: The sleuths of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) filed a prosecution complaint against sitting Congress Malkajgiri MP Anumula Revanth Reddy in the cash-for-vote scam. The others mentioned in the prosecution complaint are TDP MLA from Sathupally Sandra Venkata Veeraiah, Bishop Harry Sebastian, Rudra Sivakumar Uday Simha, Mathaiah Jerusalem and Vem Krishna Keerthan.

The ED began an investigation based on the FIR registered by the state's Anti-corruption Bureau (ACB). In 2015, in a clandestine operation, the ACB caught Revanthi Reddy red-handed while offering a bribe of Rs 50 lakhs in cash to Anglo-Indian MLA Elvis Stephenson in exchange for either abstaining from voting or voting in favour of TDP candidate, Vem Narendra Reddy, in the MLC (Member of Legislative Council). The ACB had arrested the accused caught red-handed and filed a chargesheet after an investigation.

Later, in 2019, the ED had recorded the statements of the accused and witnesses including that of Revanth Reddy, Harry Sebastian, and Rudra Uday Simha who were said to have handed over the bribe to Elvis Stephenson. They were also shown audio-visual recordings of their actions.

Setting the Trap

The ED investigation established that Revanth Reddy, Sandra Venkata Veeraiah and others had conspired to bribe Elvis Stephenson for securing his vote in favour of Vem Narender Reddy, a candidate proposed by the TDP in the MLC elections that were to be held on 1 June, 2015.

After the accused contacted Elvis Stephenson and offered him a bribe of Rs 5 crore Elvis Stephenson made a complaint with the ACB and a trap was laid to catch the accused. Cameras were also set up to have audio and visual proof of the encounter.

The accused met the complainant at his house on 30 May, 2015 and made the bribe offer. On 31 May, A Revanth Reddy, R Harry Sebastian and Uday Simha came to the house of Malcolm Taylor (a friend of Elvis Stephenson) to hand over an advance of Rs 50 lakhs in cash. The ACB who were waiting in secret for the transaction to be done took the accused into custody along with the seized cash. The accused is said to have received the amount from Vem Krishna Keerthan (son of Vem Narendra Reddy) to help his father in the elections.

The ED has provisionally attached the seized bribe amount of ₹50 lakhs cash under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002. The ED investigation established that the accused persons committed the scheduled offence as well as money laundering by dealing with the bribe which is nothing but proceeds of crime as per PMLA. Thus, ED has filed a prosecution complaint against accused persons with a request to hold trial for the offence of money laundering.

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