VIJAYAWADA: The Supreme Court on Tuesday deferred till October 9 the hearing on Special Leave Petition (SLP) filed by former Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu challenging the high court order dismissing his quash petition in the alleged skill development scam case, on October 9
The Supreme Court directed the state government to file the documents placed on record before the high court to decide upon the applicability of section 17A of Prevention of Corruption (PC) Act.
Arguing on behalf of Naidu, senior counsels Harish Salve and Abhishek Manu Singhvi told the apex court that the FIR into the case was registered in the year 2021.As section 17A was inserted in PC Act in the year 2018, the procedure contemplated to obtain prior approval of competent authority before initiating any enquiry, inquiry or investigation into the decisions taken by a public servant in discharge of his official duties.
The senior counsels stressed upon the point that the establishment of Skill Development Corporation was a decision taken by the cabinet and hence, section 17A would apply to the case according to the judgement rendered by the Supreme Court in Yeswanth Sinha case.

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Even if assuming that the occurrence of crime should be considered in applying 17A, there is an overlap of time according to the remand report in which it was stated that the alleged crime took place between 2015 to 2019. In any case, section 17A should be complied with before initiating any investigation, argued the senior counsels.
Arguing on behalf of the state government, senior counsel Mukul Rohatgi said that the inquiry into the case was actually initiated in the year 2018 prior to the insertion of 17A into PC Act. The high court considered this fact while rejecting the quash petition and the question of 17A does not arise in this case as a regular inquiry was initiated even before the 17A came into existence.
The Supreme Court bench comprising Justice Aniruddha Bose and Justice Bela M Trivedi asked Mukul Rohatgi for the documents to show that the inquiry into the case was started prior to the insertion of 17A.
While Siddharth Luthra contended that the said document was not part of the record before the trial court and the additional advocate general only mentioned orally during the hearing before the high court.
He said that there was no document placed on record to suggest that the inquiry was initiated prior to insertion of section 17A.
As there was no clarity in the high court order other than mentioning about submission of additional advocate general, and contradicting arguments have been submitted, the apex court bench directed the state government to file all the records placed before the high court.
The bench further posed a question on the issue of offences alleged under various sections of IPC even if assuming the 17A applies to the case and PC Act is dropped. Responding to the query, Abhishek Manu Singhvi said that in that case the special court does not have jurisdiction, but the court considered the case and sent the accused to judicial remand without jurisdiction which in itself is bad law.
Considering the arguments on both sides, the Supreme Court directed the state government to file all the documents placed on record before the high court and posted the matter for further hearing on October 9.
The Crime Investigation Department (CID) arrested Chandrababu Naidu in the alleged skill development scam under the charges of criminal conspiracy, breach of trust by public servant and corruption allegations, on September 9.
The special court for ACB cases sent Naidu on judicial remand to Rajahmundry central jail on September 10.


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