YSRCP MLA gets relief from arrest till June 5 in EVM case | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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YSRCP MLA gets relief from arrest till June 5 in EVM case

By, Hyderabad
May 24, 2024 09:10 AM IST

A video of the YSRCP MLA smashing the EVM and VVPAT machine by banging them on the floor at the Palwaigate polling station in Macherla went viral on social media on May 21

In a big relief to Ramakrishna Reddy, YSR Congress Party’s Macherla MLA in Andhra Pradesh’s Palnadu district, the state high court on Thursday directed the police not to arrest him till June 5, in a case pertaining to destruction of an electronic voting machine inside a polling booth on May 13, people familiar with the matter said.

Ramakrishna Reddy, who has gone incognito since the Macherla police filed a case against him, filed a lunch motion petition before a single judge bench (ANI)
Ramakrishna Reddy, who has gone incognito since the Macherla police filed a case against him, filed a lunch motion petition before a single judge bench (ANI)

Reddy, who has gone incognito since the Macherla police filed a case against him, filed a lunch motion petition before a single judge bench of the state high court headed by Justice Jyothirmayi, through his lawyer S Niranjan Reddy, seeking bail.

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After hearing the arguments of the petitioner and the prosecution, the bench passed interim orders directing that the police should not take any action against the MLA till 10 am on June 5, a day after the declaration of results for the assembly and Lok Sabha elections in the state.

The bench also asked Ramakrishna Reddy not to intimidate the opponents or threaten the witnesses. The court directed that the Election Commission keep a watch on the movements of MLA.

During the course of arguments, the MLA’s lawyer brought to the notice of the bench that the EC had ordered the police to book a case against the MLA based on a video posted on social media by Telugu Desam Party (TDP) general secretary Nara Lokesh.

“How can the EC rely on the video posted by a TDP leader? It could be a morphed video,” he argued.

He recalled that the police had registered a case saying some unknown persons had damaged the EVM. “It was only after the TDP brought out the video, the police included Ramakrishna Reddy’s name in the case without serving him any notice giving him an opportunity to explain his stand,” the lawyer pointed out.

A video of the YSRCP MLA smashing the EVM and VVPAT machine by banging them on the floor at the Palwaigate polling station in Macherla went viral on social media on May 21.

Based on the video footage, the ECI ordered a thorough inquiry into the incident and ordered the arrest of Ramakrishna Reddy.

The MLA was booked under sections 143 (unlawful assembly), 147 (rioting by use of force), 448 (criminal trespassing), 427 (mischief by causing damage), 353 (criminal force to assault a public servant), 452 (trespass to cause hurt and wrongfully restrain) and 120 (B) (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code, besides Sections 131 and 135 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, and Section 3 of the Prevention of Damage to Public Property (PDPP) Act, 1984.

Earlier, state chief electoral officer (CEO) MK Meena told reporters that eight police teams were on the lookout for Ramakrishna Reddy.

On Wednesday, the police found a couple of vehicles part of the MLA’s convoy near Hyderabad. The MLA’s driver and security guard have been detained for questioning, he said, adding that the MLA would be arrested very soon.

The CEO said the presiding officer and assistant polling officer of the booth where the MLA smashed the EVM for failing to provide information about the incident were placed under suspension for dereliction of duties on the polling day.

Meanwhile, a tense atmosphere prevailed in Macherla following a call given by the TDP leaders for “Chalo Macherla” to call on the party workers who were injured in the post-poll violence in the area.

Palnadu superintendent of police (SP) Malika Garg said no permission would be given for any rallies or meetings in Macherla in view of the sensitive law and order situation and enforcement of Section 144 of Criminal Procedure Code in the area.

The police placed several leaders of the TDP in different parts of the state under house arrest to foil their ‘Chalo Macherla’ programme.

TDP leaders Nakka Anand Babu and K. Srinivasa Rao were placed under house arrest in Guntur. Former minister Devineni Uma was stopped from leaving his house in Gollapudi.

Similarly, TDP politburo member Varla Ramaiah was kept under house arrest in Vijayawada.

TDP candidate from Macherla assembly constituency, Julakanti Brahmananda Reddy has already been under house arrest since the polling day on May 13.

The chief electoral officer said it was not the right time for the TDP leaders to go to Macherla at this juncture, as the situation was just returning to normalcy.

“Any provocative action from the TDP leaders would escalate violence once again. Hence, we asked the police not to permit any such visits by the TDP leaders,” Meena added.

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