SC defers hearing on Naidu’s plea to quash FIR till 9 October

Supreme Court

The Supreme Court on Tuesday deferred till 9 October hearing of Telugu Desam Party (TDP) leader N. Chandrababu Naidu’s plea challenging an Andhra Pradesh High Court order that dismissed his petition to quash an FIR related to the Skill Development Corporation scam case.

A bench comprising Justices Aniruddha Bose and Bela M. Trivedi asked senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, representing the Andhra Pradesh government, to submit all materials presented before the high court in connection with the case. Rohatgi argued that Naidu’s request to quash the FIR should be rejected since the question of section 17A of the Prevention of Corruption Act does not apply. He noted that this provision was introduced in July 2018, while the CBI initiated the inquiry into the case in 2017.

Senior advocates Harish Salve, Abhishek Singhvi, and Siddharth Luthra, appearing for Naidu, contended that all the allegations in the FIR relate to decisions, instructions, or recommendations made by Naidu during his tenure as the chief minister of the state. They argued that this is essentially a political case, and the provisions of section 17A should apply.

Luthra pointed out that Naidu is facing multiple FIRs, suggesting a clear case of regime change. The bench decided to take up the matter again on the following Monday.

Naidu, aged 73, was arrested on September 9 on charges of misappropriating funds from the Skill Development Corporation during his tenure as chief minister in 2015, resulting in an alleged loss of Rs 371 crore to the state exchequer. His judicial remand has been extended until 5 October.

According to the CID’s remand report, Naidu is accused of engaging in a criminal conspiracy, fraudulent misappropriation of government funds, disposal of property under the control of a public servant, cheating, forging documents, and destroying evidence.