The Cyberabad Police on Wednesday filed a case against three persons for allegedly luring four Telangana Rashtra Samithi MLAs to join the Bharatiya Janata Party with large sums of money, ANI reported.
The police filed a first information report under the Prevention of Corruption Act against a Hindu seer named D Simhayaji, his disciple Satiesh Sharma and businessman Nandakumar. All three have been taken into custody, according to The Quint.
The four MLAs – P Rohit Reddy, Bheeram Harshavardhan Reddy, P Rega Kantha Rao, Guvvala Balaraju – were seen at a farmhouse in the Aziz Nagar area of Cyberabad.
City Police Commissioner Stephen Ravindra said that the legislators told the police that they were being lured to join the BJP. “Based on their complaint, we reached the farmhouse and found three persons including a [Hindu] priest from Himachal Pradesh and his disciple from Tirupati and a local Hyderabad-based businessman,” he said.
The police chief said that the MLAs were offered money, contracts and posts to lure them to join the BJP.
The Telangana Rashtra Samithi’s social media convenor Y Sathish Reddy claimed that one of the accused persons, Nandakumar, is a close aide of Union minister G Kishan Reddy.
A police complaint was filed by P Rohit Reddy, who owns the farmhouse where attempts were allegedly being made to poach the MLAs, according to India Today. The complainant claimed that he was offered Rs 100 crore to join the party and bring other legislators with him.
“I was also asked to mobilise a few other MLAs offering them a bribe of RS 50 crores each to join the BJP,” he claimed. “They said that if the MLAs didn’t join BJP, there would be criminal cases and raids by ED [Enforcement Directorate] and CBI [Central Bureau of Investigation].”
Late on Wednesday, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao held a meeting with the four MLAs.
G Kishan Reddy denied that the BJP was attempting to poaching the MLAs. “The BJP is not involved in this,” he said, according to The Quint. “Why do we need these MLAs? This is a diversion created by the TRS to win the Munugode seat.”
The bye-election for the Munugode constituency in the Nalgonda district is scheduled for November 3.
Reddy alleged that even before the police reached the farmhouse, media crew were present there, giving details of what was happening inside, reported NDTV. The politician also claimed that the police were involved in an elaborate plot created by the Telangana government.
The Aam Aadmi Party had also claimed that the BJP tried to lure its MLAs in Delhi and Punjab to switch sides. The party proposed votes of confidence in the two state Assemblies, and won them.
In both cases, the BJP denied that it had lured legislators to join its fold.