Cash-for-vote scam: Naidu's voice sample was not taken with court nod

Naidu cannot be implicated unless ACB receives a report from AP Forensic Laboratory or Central Forensic Laboratory.

HYDERABAD: Forensic reports from the Mumbai and London laboratories confirming the audio samples as those of AP Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu in the cash-for-vote scam may not stand in court as the sample collection procedures were not according to law, said experts.

Mr Naidu cannot be implicated unless the TS Anti Corruption Bureau receives a report from the AP Forensic Science Laboratory or the Central Forensic Science Laboratory or any private FSL. It has to send the seized phone conversation between Mr Naidu and Anglo Indian independent MLA Elvis Stephenson and Mr Naidu’s voice sample collected with the ACB court’s permission.

So far the TS ACB hasn’t sent Mr Naidu’s voice samples to the FSL for testing.
The complainant, YSRC MLA Alla Ramakrishna Reddy, had obtained the forensic reports from the labs through his counsel by sending conversation collected from a TV channel and Mr Naidu’s speech at Davos that was downloaded from the Internet. Legal experts said that these reports would only help the petitioner to support his plea to seek investigation and ACB couldn’t rely on them to proceed against Mr Naidu.

These reports have put the focus on the ACB, which has been dragging its feet regarding the investigation by not sending Mr Naidu’s voice samples to the FSL.
It has also given strength to the argument that the ACB has to proceed in the case and verify the conclusion of the London and Mumbai reports officially.

Samples taken in private capacity not valid
National Investigation Agency special public prosecutor P. Vishnuvardhan Reddy said, “The Code of Criminal Procedure Code clearly lays down the rules for seizure of any evidence including voice samples. Usually control voice samples are recorded before the magistrate. The phone conversations seized or retrieved officially by the investigation agency and the voice samples have to be sent to the forensic science laboratory through the court.”

He added, “In this case, a forensic report was obtained by a private individual with samples collected from his known sources, it is not valid. If the investigation agency has failed to collect samples and send it to the FSL, private individuals may file a petition in the High Court or trial court seeking a direction to the investigating agency to collect the material as per the procedures and take the case forward.”

Meanwhile, in a significant development, the ACB said that it had submitted a fresh chargesheet and the same was taken into cognizance and the court has ordered a probe into the complaint filed by the YSRC MLA.

ACB special public prosecutor V. Surender Rao said, “The chargesheet has been numbered on Monday. The High Court had earlier quashed a case against one of the accused, Jerusalem Mattaiah, and the same has now been challenged in Supreme Court and is pending. There are no major changes from the chargesheet filed earlier and that resubmitted later.”

He added, “In the fresh complaint, the YSRC MLA may have got the forensic labs report as support for his claim. ACB as an agency is still investigating the case. There is further investigation to be done.”

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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