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Cash-for-votes scam: Andhra CM's purported conversation with nominated MLA adds new twist

PTI 08 Jun 2015, 7:04:12 AM IST

Hyderabad: A purported conversation in an audio tape between Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu and nominated MLA Elvys Stephenson, aired in a section of local TV channels, gave a new twist to the cash-for-votes controversy on Sunday.

Parakala Prabhakar Advisor (Communications) to the Andhra government strongly denied reports saying that the tapes were fabricated and the AP government will take up the issue seriously.

The reported conversation suggested that the Andhra CM was giving "assurance of all sorts" to the MLA if he votes for TDP nominee in the Telangana Legislative Council election.

Prabhakar further alleged that the Telangana government is trying to malign the image of the AP chief minister by resorting to cheap tactics.

"It is not the chief minister's conversation. How come they are available outside. Telangana Government has to give answer to this. Telangana CM and Home minister should give answers," Parakala said.

He said that the Telangana CM is trying to mislead the people of Andhra Pradesh by resorting to "cheap tricks".

The anti-corruption bureau of Telangana is in the process of questioning TDP MLA Revanth Reddy and two others who have been arrested in cash-for-vote case.

On May 31, the ACB arrested Reddy for allegedly trying to bribe the nominated MLA Elvis Stephenson to vote for TDP nominee in the Telangana Legislative Council election.

Based on a complaint by Stephenson, ACB officials held Revanth, Sebastian Harry and Uday Simha after they were caught while allegedly handing over Rs 50 lakh to Stephenson.

Earlier, Telangana Home Minister alleged that Naidu is the key person in the issue.

It's not Naidu's voice: Andhra government

The Andhra Pradesh government on Sunday denied that the voice in an audio tape of a purported conversation of Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu with a nominated legislator of Telangana is Naidu's voice.

Naidu's media advisor Prakala Prabhakar told reporters that it was not Naidu.

He said the government was taking the release of the audio tape seriously and will not keep quiet. "We will fight it legally, constitutionally and politically," he said.

He said T News, a news channel run from Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) office, released the audio tape.

The audio tape contains a purported conversation Naidu had with nominated member Elvis Stephenson.

Telugu Desam Party (TDP) legislator A. Revanth Reddy was arrested on May 31 in Hyderabad when he was offering Rs.50 lakh to Stephenson to make him vote for TDP-BJP candidate in Telangana legislative council elections.