The Central Bureau of Investigation on Monday registered cases against 16 people for allegedly defaming judges of the Andhra Pradesh High Court and the Supreme Court, reported NDTV. The High Court had on October 12 ordered such an inquiry into the “role of prominent persons in the state”.

The central agency had also sent notices to 49 leaders and members of the state’s ruling YSR Congress Party as the CBI was ordered to book everyone involved in slandering judges. A first information report was registered in Visakhapatnam on November 11, combining 12 cases being previously investigated by the Andhra Pradesh Crime Investigation Department.

“In view of the similarities in the nature of allegations and the modus operandi, these 12 cases are being clubbed into one FIR, for the purpose of uniformity and to look into commonality if any,” the FIR said, reported The News Minute.

The CID had earlier registered cases on the basis of complaints by the Registrar General of Andhra Pradesh High Court. The complaint said that the accused had posted on Twitter and Facebook “attributing motives, caste and corrupt allegations” to judges of the Supreme Court and the High Court, adding that some posts were “abusive, life threatening and intimidating”.

The 16 individuals were booked for making the posts between April 1 and July 15. They are Mani Annapureddy, who lives outside India, Konda Reddy Dhamireddy, Sudheer Pamula, Adarsh Reddy, Abhishek Reddy, Siva Reddy, Sridhar Reddy Avuthu, Jalagam Venkata Satya Narayana, G Sridhar Reddy, Linga Reddy, Chandu Reddy, Srinath Suswaram, Kishore Reddy Darisa (abroad), Chiranjeevi, Linga Reddy Rajasekhar Reddy (abroad) and K Gowthami, according to The News Minute.

The action followed after Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy wrote to Chief Justice of India Sharad Aravind Bobde, alleging that Supreme Court judge Justice NV Ramana had been influencing the sittings of the state High Court, including the roster of some judges. In a letter written on October 6, the chief minister had alleged that cases important to the Opposition Telugu Desam Party were “allocated to a few judges”.

Reddy had said that beneficiaries of two important judgements of the Andhra Pradesh High Court were Telugu Desam Party leaders. The chief minister had also highlighted that Ramana was a legal adviser and additional advocate-general in the previous Chandrababu Naidu-led government.

Three separate petitions were filed against Reddy for his “scandalising statements”. On Monday, Supreme Court judge Justice UU Lalit recused himself from hearing petitions seeking to initiate proceedings of criminal contempt.