Hyderabad: Spy cameras placed strategically in a room, voice recorders hidden in kurta pockets and a secret code were part of the Cyberabad Police’s intricate plan to bust the alleged poaching attempt of Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) MLAs.
On Wednesday night, three alleged agents of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) were arrested from a farmhouse of TRS MLA Pilot Rohit Reddy whom the trio were said to have been trying to lure along with three other party legislators. The arrested included a priest from Faridabad, a seer from Andhra Pradesh’s temple town Tirupati and a businessman from Hyderabad.
In the remand report, accessed by ThePrint, the police gave details of the plan to nab the accused red-handed. Electronic spy gadgets were arranged in the hall at Reddy’s farmhouse where a meeting was scheduled between the four MLAs and the accused.
Reddy, the complainant in this case, was asked to give a signal by saying ‘nariyal paani layeye,’ (Get coconut water) once the meeting concludes. Reddy would ask his domestic help for coconut water, signalling the police who had taken ‘vantage positions’ to jump into action.
The meeting, which started at 4.10 pm on Wednesday, lasted for about three-and-a half hours, according to the report. Right after it concluded, Reddy gave the ‘pre-arranged’ signal for the police to enter the hall where the meeting took place.
In both the pockets of Reddy’s white kurta were voice recorders placed by the police. The voice notes were re-played and the accused were confronted, but they did not speak, reads the report.
On Thursday, the Cyberabad Police said that the accused offered Rs 100 crore cash to Reddy and 50 crore rupees to other three MLAs to join the BJP.
The police, however, did not seize any cash which resulted in a court rejecting the plea for custody of the trio. The police then moved the Telangana High Court, which on Saturday ordered the accused to surrender within 24 hours.
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WhatsApp chats mention list of MLAs
The report, which also produced WhatsApp conversations of the trio, mentioned that the chats showed the accused discussing a certain list of 50 MLAs from the TRS and the party Congress party.
In a WhatsApp chat with a certain ‘Santosh BJP,’ one of the accused allegedly said that there are about 25 sitting MLAs ready to join the BJP immediately and the plan is to get 40 such members to join the party. Another message in the same chat allegedly mentioned the four MLAs, including Reddy, saying that they were ready to leave TRS immediately, but would need some “VITAMIN”.
“Pilot Rohit Reddy (leader), Guvvala Balaraj, Harshavardhana Reddy, Rega Kantha Rao — all are sitting MLAs from TRS. Ready in Hyderabad for Shifting immediately. Need an appointment as soon as possible, before that they require some VITAMIN HELP for 3 people,” the chat reads.
Lashing out at the TRS and denying association with any of those “agents”, the BJP has alleged that the entire scene is a plot hatched by Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao from his office-cum-residence Pragati Bhavan in Begumpet.
The BJP leaders also demanded that the police establish strong proof that the “agents” belonged to their party. The party has already moved the high court demanding the case be transferred to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for fair investigation.
“This is all drama. Why did the MLAs agree to meet some agents if they were not interested in leaving the party? Why did they allow those agents on their private property?” Union Tourism Minister Kishan Reddy said ThursdayMLA poaching.
The tourism minister has been dragged into the controversy after an old picture of one of the accused with him went viral on social media.
Meanwhile, Telangana minister and TRS working president K.T. Rama Rao issued a diktat Thursday directing party leaders to not make any statement while the case is under investigation. On Saturday, the minister reiterated that he gave the order so that no impression is created that the ruling party is trying to influence the investigation in the case.
(Edited by Tony Rai)
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