A local court in Maharashtra has issued an arrest warrant against Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu and 15 others in a 2010 case related to an agitation by them over the Babli project across river Godavari.
The judicial first class magistrate of Dharmabad in Nanded district, N R Gajbhiye, issued the order, directing police to arrest all the accused and produce them in the court by September 21.
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.
Naidu and others, then in the opposition in the united Andhra Pradesh, had been arrested and lodged in a jail in Pune in connection with the agitation staged by them near the Babli project site in Maharashtra, opposing it on ground that it would affect the people downstream.
All were released later though they did not seek bail.
The court order, dated July 5 and supposed to be executed by August 16 but corrected to September 21, was issued on a petition filed by a Maharashtra resident.
Naidu was the leader of opposition in the united Andhra Pradesh then and the case has been pending trial all these years. Reacting to the news about the court 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,” Lokesh said. The chief minister is currently camping in Tirumala near Tirupati, attending the annual brahmotsavam of Lord Venkateswara temple there.