New Delhi: The Supreme Court Wednesday stayed the Andhra Pradesh High Court path restraining the media from publishing news relating to an FIR lodged on alleged irregularities in land transactions in Amaravati.
A bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan stated that the higher court shall not choose till January final week the pending matter which relates to the alleged illegal land transactions for the duration of shifting of the state capital to Amaravati.
The bench, also comprising Justices R S Reddy and M R Shah, refused to remain at this stage the other directions of the higher court like the remain on probe into the FIR in the matter.
The apex court passed the order even though hearing an appeal filed by Andhra Pradesh government against the September 15 order of higher court.
The best court, which did not challenge notice to chief minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy on the appeal, sought responses from other folks like the Director General of Police of Andhra Pradesh and the state’s former advocate common Dammalapati Srinivas on whose plea the higher court had passed the order.
The bench has posted the matter for hearing in January.
The Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy government had earlier constituted the ten-member SIT, headed by a Deputy Inspector General of Police- rank IPS officer, on February 21 to conduct a complete investigation into a variety of alleged irregularities, especially the land offers in the Amaravati Capital Region, for the duration of the preceding Chandrababu Naidu regime.
The report of a Cabinet Sub-Committee on the “procedural, legal and financial irregularities and fraudulent transactions concerned with various projects, including the issues related to land in the CRDA region will form the basis for the SIT probe, the government had said.
During the hearing conducted through video-conferencing, senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan, appearing for Andhra Pradesh government, argued the high court could not have said that no investigation should take place in the case.
He said high court should not have given directions that no coercive action be taken and no gag order could have been passed.
“What is so particular about this petition? The essence of this case is malafide but exactly where it is reflected in the petition,” the senior advocate said.
Dhavan argued that the writ petition before the high court is “political” and against the chief minister and is based on reliable sources.
“There is proof in the complaint and it run into pages and pages. Now why will farmers acquire land in June and July and sell it in January. Now I ask myself no matter if this type of complaint must be probed or not. There had been series of transaction and no matter if it must not be probed,” he said.
Taking note of his submissions, the bench observed “We are of the view that the challenge demands consideration and thus we will challenge notice.” Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for former advocate general Dammalapati Srinivas, said, “We have no objection and let the matter be heard.” “It is absurd to say that an individual had prior understanding of the land becoming taken by state for capital. It is a public understanding when such plans come up,” he said. “It is worst than emergency,” Rohatgi said, adding, “It is simpler to target somebody but it is hard to develop reputation. A lawyer was targeted mainly because he was advocate common for the preceding government.” Senior advocate Harish Salve, who also appeared for the former advocate general, said if the order was so wrong then state should have gone back to the high court and asked for vacating the order.
“Order was passed in September and now it is November but no reply is filed till now,” he said, adding that allegations were made against judges of the high court on social media.
“The higher court had taken note of it as it knows what is taking place in the state,” Salve said, adding, “Now they (state) are attempting to make out a case that (former) advocate common had prior understanding and bought land. This is abuse of energy”.
“This court must not encourage that they have no faith against the higher court,” Salve said.
Dhavan responded to their arguments saying the state was not against any court but a criminal case has to be investigated.
“The allegation discloses offence and it was not a knee jerk reaction. Such order can’t be passed,” he stated.