Cash-for-vote scam: Andhra CM’s audio tape made public

Hyderabad, (IANS) The cash-for-vote scam in Telangana took a dramatic Naidu_mturn on Sunday with the release of an audio tape of a purported telephonic conversation between Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu and nominated Telangana legislator Elvis Stephenson.

In swift developments on Sunday night, Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao met Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan at Raj Bhavan while Naidu called a meeting with Andhra Pradesh Director General of Police J. V. Ramudu and other officials to take stock of the latest situation.

Rao’ meeting with the governor, the second in three days, came minutes after the release of an audio tape of Naidu’s alleged conversation with Stephenson.

The audio tape was played on some Telugu news channels but it was not clear who released it.

During the conversation, Naidu purportedly assured the nominated member that he is with him. “Our people briefed me. I am with you don’t bother. For everything I am with you. What all they spoke we will honour,” Naidu was heard as telling the legislator.

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

ACB, which had laid a trap on a complaint by Stephenson, also arrested Revanth Reddy’s aides Sebastian Harry and Uday Simha.

Telangana Home Minister N. Narasimha Reddy had said three days ago that the government has proof that Naidu spoke to Stephenson and some other MLAs of Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS).

TRS leaders have been alleging that Naidu is the mastermind in the scam and he should be booked.

The audio tape came to light a few hours after ACB questioned Revanth Reddy and two others. A city court had sent them to four-day custody of ACB.

Earlier in the day, Naidu met Narasimhan, who is governor for both Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. The TDP chief reportedly complained to the governor about TRS government tapping his phone.

Andhra Pradesh government is functioning in Hyderabad, which is the common capital of the two states.

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