The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) has called for protests across Andhra Pradesh and Telangana after a Maharashtra court issued an arrest warrant against Andhra Pradesh CM N Chandrababu Naidu and 15 others in a 2010 case related to the agitation over the Babli project across Godavari river.
Judicial Magistrate (First Class) N R Gajbhiye directed the police to arrest all the accused and produce them before the court by September 21.
However, TDP leaders have alleged that the arrest warrant is politically motivated. "This is nothing but a conspiracy by the BJP to intimidate the TDP. The BJP is afraid of the alliance that the TDP is forming in Telangana and the arrest warrant, which had expired, has been renewed to intimidate us," Telangana TDP president L Ramana told The Indian Express. "It is revenge politics by BJP, Modi and Amit Shah," TDP leader B Venkanna said, describing the process as "witch-hunting."
Naidu's son and state Information Technology Minister N Lokesh said his father and the other TDP leaders would appear in court. "He fought to protect the interests of Telangana. He even refused to seek bail when he was arrested," Lokesh said.
According to a report in the Firstpost, the Dharmabad court had issued the arrest warrant on July 5, which was to be executed by August 16. The warrant was re-issued for September 21 after a Nanded resident moved court, saying no action was taken on the arrest warrant.
Besides Naidu, state Water Resources Minister Devineni Umamaheswara Rao, Social Welfare Minister N Anand Babu and former MLA G Kamalakar (who subsequently joined TRS) were among those booked in the case.
What is the case against Andhra CM?
TDP leaders, led by Naidu, crossed over from Telangana to Maharashtra to stage a protest at Babli barrage in Nanded district on July 18, 2010. The leaders, who were in the opposition in a united Andhra at the time, were agitating against the dam across the Godavari as the water flow to downstream areas in Telangana would be affected.
After Nanded MP Bhaskarrao Khatgaonkar and Nanded MLA Omprakash Pokarna strongly opposed the protest and demanded action against them, the TDP leaders were taken into custody by the police and lodged in a Pune jail. Naidu was sent back on a flight while the others were told to leave the same evening.