SC Shields Naidu from Arrest in FibreNet Case Pending Skill Development Scam Verdict

Alleged Irregularities in AP FiberNet Project Worth Rs 330 Crore Spark Investigation

Hyderabad: The Supreme Court instructed the Andhra Pradesh Police on Friday not to arrest N. Chandrababu Naidu, the TDP chief, in the FibreNet case until a verdict is reached in the Skill Development scam case.

Justices Aniruddha Bose and Bela M. Trivedi's bench scheduled Naidu's anticipatory bail hearing in the FibreNet Case for November 9 and maintained the previous understanding with the Andhra Pradesh Police, referring to their statement on October 13 that they would not take Naidu into custody.

Justice Bose suggested dealing with Naidu's plea after a verdict is reached on another application. Senior advocate Siddharth Luthra, representing Naidu, highlighted the police's intent to take him into custody in the FibreNet case despite his ongoing custody in the Skill Development scam case.

Senior advocate Ranjit Kumar, appearing for the Andhra Pradesh government, confirmed that they would seek court permission for Naidu's custodial interrogation in the FibreNet case, considering his current judicial custody in another case. The bench adjourned the matter and reiterated the earlier agreement.

On October 13, the Andhra Pradesh Police assured the Supreme Court that they wouldn't arrest Naidu in the FiberNet case until October 18, due to his pending petition related to the Skill Development Corporation scam.

The FiberNet case involves alleged irregularities in awarding a work order under Phase-1 of the AP FiberNet Project, worth Rs 330 crore, to a favored company. The Andhra Pradesh Police's Criminal Investigation Department (CID) alleged improprieties in the project from tender allocation to work completion, causing significant financial losses to the state.

73-year-old Naidu was arrested on September 9 for alleged misappropriation of funds from the Skill Development Corporation during his tenure as chief minister in 2015, causing an alleged loss of Rs 371 crore to the state. He remains in judicial remand at the Rajamahendravaram central prison.

Earlier in the week, the bench had withheld its decision on a separate plea from Naidu, in which he sought the dismissal of an FIR linked to the Skill Development scam case, and it declined to grant him interim bail.

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