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Babhli issue: Naidu sent to 2-day judicial custody

Nanded: TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu and 74 partymen arrested by Maharashtra Police at Dharmabad during the protest over an irrigation project in Babhli were on Saturday remanded to two days’ judicial custody after they refused to take bail.

Naidu and the others, arrested Friday night, were offered bail by the court and asked to furnish a personal bond for the release, but they refused to take bail after which Judicial Magistrate First Class Deepak Matha sent them to two days’ judicial custody.

“They have been remanded to two days’ judicial custody,” S Munde, PI, Dharmabad Police station said.

Besides the former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister, 50 MLAs, two MPs and 25 party workers too have been sent to judicial custody.

While Munde said as of now Naidu was being kept at ITI building, police sources said if he insisted on remaining in Dharmabad, he might be sent to the central prison either in Aurangabad or Nashik.

After failing to obtain the arrested TDP leaders’ signatures on blank bond papers, Maharashtra police brought the local magistrate to the Industrial Training Institute (ITI) campus to hear the case.

One of the TDP MLAs, arrested in Dharmabad said over phone that the magistrate tried to persuade us for bail, “but we have not been given the (remand) orders in writing yet,” the MLA said.

The TDP MLA said, Naidu reportedly told the Dharmabad magistrate that people who have done something wrong only will seek bail. “We have done nothing wrong, so no question of taking bail,” they told the DM.

Naidu was arrested yesterday along with party men when they tried to reach Babhli irrigation project in Maharashtra, violating the prohibitory orders under IPC Section 144.

Initially, a case under Section 151 CrPC was registered against the TDP leaders and later Sections 135, 143 and 188 of IPC were also included, which makes the arrested persons liable even for a jail term.

Naidu and the others, however, refused to take bail and asserted that they would return only after inspecting the controversial project, which they alleged was illegally built by the Maharashtra government.

Meanwhile, a bandh call in Dharmabad was given by the ‘Babhli Bachao Kriti Samiti’ led by Congress MP from Nanded Bhaskarrao Patil Khatgaonkar, to protest Naidu’s stance over the issue.

Shops remained closed and roads in this tehsil town, 12 kms from Andhra border, with the only presence being that of nearly 1,000 policemen deployed to ensure peace during the TDP leader’s visit.

In Hyderabad, a delegation of TDP MLAs and senior leaders met Chief Minister K Rosaiah in the state Secretariat late in the evening to register their protest over the arrests.

Initially, the TDP delegation was prevented from meeting Rosaiah stating that there was ‘no prior appointment’.

In protest, the TDP MLAs and senior leaders staged a demonstration at the entrance of the Chief Minister’s Office block in the Secretariat, demanding that the CM himself come down and receive their representation.

However, Rosaiah himself called senior MLA N Janardhana Reddy over phone and invited the TDP delegation to come to his chambers.

“We told the Chief Minister that the Maharashtra police ‘stealthily’ arrested Chandrababu Naidu and other legislators by lying that they will be taken to the Babli project site. This is totally improper and unjustified as our leaders have done nothing wrong,” TDP senior MLA Tummala Nageswara Rao told reporters after the meeting with Rosaiah.

“I am sorry about what has happened. I will talk to the Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan,” Rao said, quoting Rosaiah.

Andhra Pradesh Assembly Speaker N Kiran Kumar Reddy spoke to his Maharashtra counterpart Dilip Walse-Patil over phone this evening following a representation made by TDP senior MLA N Janardhana Reddy over the alleged ‘ill-treatment’ being meted out to Naidu and other legislators by Maharashtra police.

“Chandrababu is our Leader of Opposition and there are many former ministers and senior legislators among those arrested. Please ensure proper facilities for them,” the AP Speaker reportedly told Patil.

The Maharashtra Speaker is said to have replied that he would represent the issue to the state Home Minister R R Patil “for necessary action”.

Meanwhile, Telugu Desam Party has called a bandh in Andhra Pradesh on Monday in protest against the arrest of Chandrababu Naidu and other legislators by Maharashtra police.

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