Authorities on Tuesday searched the homes of TDP MLA A Revanth Reddy and two other accused in a cash-for-votes scam that has become a major embarrassment for Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu following the emergence of an audio tape purportedly linking him to the scandal.
Officials of Telangana’s Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) searched the houses of Reddy, Sebastian Harry and Uday Simha at different locations in Hyderabad, the combined capital of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.
Armed with a search warrant, about 15 officials searched Reddy's home in Jubliee Hills, one of his lawyers said.
The ACB checked passports and documents related to bank accounts and land. The lawyer said the officials found “nothing relating to the case”.
The searches were conducted before dawn, hours before the accused were questioned by the ACB for the fourth consecutive day.
The raids came a day after Naidu warned his Telangana counterpart K Chandrashekar Rao of "consequences", accusing the neighbouring state of tapping his phones and using doctored tapes to corner him in the cash-for-votes scam.
The audio tape, first aired on Sunday by a TV news channel owned by Rao’s family, purportedly feature Naidu asking a Telangana legislator to back a TDP candidate in an election.
Reddy and the two others were arrested by the ACB on May 31 when the legislator allegedly offered Rs 50 lakh to nominated MLA Elvis Stephenson to vote for the TDP candidate in the polls to Telangana’s legislative council.
The ACB acted after Stephenson filed a complaint.
The ACB is trying to gather information from the accused about the source of the Rs 50 lakh and how they planned to procure another Rs 4.5 crore for the Rs 5 crore that was to be paid to buy votes.
The agency is also questioning them regarding the complicity of other political leaders in the scam.
The audio tape became public three days after Telangana home minister N Narasimha Reddy said the government has proof that Naidu spoke to Stephenson and other MLAs of the TRS to lure them to vote for the TDP candidate.