State justifies sedition charges against MP, two channels
The Andhra Pradesh government has accused the Opposition Telugu Desam Party and its chief N. Chandrababu Naidu in the Supreme Court of “pulling the strings” in a “deep-rooted conspiracy” hatched with TV channels and YSRC MP K. Raghurama Krishnam Raju to “revolt” against the democratically elected Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy government.
The State government, in an affidavit, said in one instance an amount of €1 million was transferred by TV5 channel chairman to Mr. Raju.
The State said Mr. Raju, considered a vocal critic of his party that is in power, was surreptitiously working on a design with the TDP, using certain sections of the media, including TV5, to incite communal violence, spur hatred and contempt against the government and hurl personal abuses at the Chief Minister.
“The speeches that were made and interviews given by RRKR [Mr. Raju] were completely premeditated/coordinated and were aired only after detailed discussions between the petitioners [TV channels], RRKR and the members of Telugu Desam Party. Such speeches also resulted in actual violence on the ground,” the State government, represented by advocate Mahfooz A. Nazki, justified slapping sedition charges against the MP and the two channels.
The government said Mr. Naidu played a key role in the “conspiracy”.
“It is clear that all the strings were being pulled by TDP and its chief, Shri Chandrababu Naidu. The timing of the calls, the chats and the documents shared between RRKR and Shri Chandrababu Naidu as well as Shri Nara Lokesh [vice-president of TDP], clearly point to a bigger conspiracy against the elected government formed by the YSRCP party… WhatsApp chats between RRKR and Shri Chandrababu Naidu show the issues are taken up by RRKR only after approval of Shri Chandrababu Naidu,” the affidavit said.
The State government said it “came across” several conversations between the top echelons of the channels, Mr. Raju and TDP members on “electronic platforms” to demonstrate that the parliamentarian’s speeches were “indeed” made in furtherance of a “well-designed conspiracy”.
The Supreme Court had granted bail to Mr. Raju in May. The MP said his outspoken comments on various digital platforms against the State government had irked the ruling dispensation. He had urged the top court to protect his fundamental right to speech and expression.
Shreya Broadcasting Pvt Ltd, which runs TV5 channel and is represented by advocate Vipin Nair, had moved the Supreme Court separately to quash a sedition FIR registered against it.
The channel said it neutrally covered political issues in the State and had hosted influential public figures from all ends of the political spectrum.
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