Cash-for-Vote Case: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu in Controversy Over Alleged Phone Call

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Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu

Hyderabad:  As he completes one year in office today, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu has landed in a major controversy.

A local news channel in Telangana, TNews, belonging to Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao's family, has aired an audio recording that they claim is proof that the cash-for-vote case in which a legislator belonging to the Telugu Desam Party or TDP was arrested last Sunday, had the full backing of Mr Naidu, the party president.

TDP legislator Revanth Reddy was arrested by the Anti-Corruption Bureau after he was allegedly caught red-handed offering a bribe to nominated legislator Elvis Stephenson. The deal was reportedly for Rs five crore, of which Rs 50 lakh in cash was seized by officials.

The bribe was allegedly in exchange for the support of the nominated legislator Elvis Stephenson in Telangana legislative council elections to be held the next day.

In audio-video tapes released by the Anti-Corruption Bureau, TDP legislator Revanth Reddy repeatedly refers to his "boss" and also refers to Mr Naidu by name and calling him 'Babu Garu', saying he has been authorised directly by the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister.

"I am telling you that authentically this is not the conversation that was of the chief minister of Andhra Pradesh... We are going to fight this out constitutionally, legally and politically," said Parakala Prabhakar, Advisor (Communications) to the Andhra Pradesh government.

As NDTV had reported, the Telangana Home Minister had claimed that there were phone recordings to prove that Mr Naidu was directly involved. He claimed that Mr Naidu had also spoken to some other Telangana Rashtra Samithi or TRS legislators.

The home minister and other ministers have been demanding that Chandrababu Naidu should be made accused number one in this case that has come to be known as the cash-for-vote scam.

The TDP and K Chandrasekhar Rao's TRS have accused each other of horse-trading for the legislative council elections. The TRS won five of six seats and the Congress won one.

The TDP has been alleging that the TRS government and police have been illegally tapping the phones of neighbouring state chief minister Chandrababu Naidu and other ministers.

Telangana was carved out of Andhra Pradesh as India's 29th state in June last year. Hyderabad, with its booming economy and Software Central status, will be a shared capital for 10 years, after which it will belong to Telangana. Both Chandrababu Naidu and KCR have made sarcastic comments on each other in the past and have appeared like bitter foes who can't co-exist in the same city.

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