In what could be a big blow for the Andhra Pradesh government, Maharashtra's Dharmabad Court on Thursday issued an arrest warrant against Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, Andhra irrigation minister and 14 others for staging an agitation under the banner of TDP back in 2010. The TDP delegation was protesting over the construction of Babli project across Godavari river.
"Arrest warrant has been issued by Maharashtra's Dharmabad Court against Andhra Pradesh CM N Chandrababu Naidu, AP irrigation minister and 14 others in connection with an agitation held by TDP in 2010 against the Maharashtra govt opposing the construction of Babhali project," the news agency ANI reported.
The order was issued by N R Gajbhiye, judicial first-class magistrate of Dharmabad in Nanded district, directing police to arrest all the accused and produce them in the court by September 21.
Arrest warrant has been issued by Maharashtra's Dharmabad Court against Andhra Pradesh CM N Chandrababu Naidu, AP irrigation minister and 14 others in connection with an agitation held by TDP in 2010 against the Maharashtra govt opposing the construction of Babhali project.— ANI (@ANI) September 14, 2018
Meanwhile, reacting strongly to the incident, TDP spokesperson Lanka Dinakar took a dig at the BJP government, alleging that there is some conspiracy by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and president Amit Shah.
"It is unfortunate that an arrest warrant has been issued against Andhra Pradesh CM N Chandrababu Naidu. It appears that there is some conspiracy by Narendra Modi and Amit Shah," Dinakar was quoted by ANI as saying.
It is unfortunate that an arrest warrant has been issued against Andhra Pradesh CM N Chandrababu Naidu. It appears that there is some conspiracy by Narendra Modi & Amit Shah: TDP spokesperson Lanka Dinakar pic.twitter.com/uKLderXKu3— ANI (@ANI) September 14, 2018
Referring to the court's order, Naidu's son and state Information Technology Minister N Lokesh said his father and other TDP leaders would attend the court. "He fought to protect the interests of Telangana. He even refused to seek bail when he was arrested," he stated.
In 2010, Naidu and others, then in the opposition in the united Andhra Pradesh, was arrested and lodged in a Pune jail in connection with the agitation over Babli project site in Maharashtra. The TDP leaders opposed the project on the ground that it would affect the people downstream.
However, the leaders were released later though they did not seek bail. The case has been pending trial all these years.
Besides Naidu, state Water Resources Minister Devineni Umamaheswara Rao and Social Welfare Minister N Anand Babu, former MLA G Kamalakar (who subsequently joined the TRS) were among the Telugu Desam Party workers booked in the case.
They have been charged with the Indian Penal Code offences, including assault or criminal force, to deter public servant from discharge of duty, voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means, act endangering life or personal safety of others, criminal intimidation among others.