Maharashtra court, has issued an arrest warrant against Andhra Pradesh chief minister N. Chandrababu Naidu and 15 others in a 2010 case related to an agitation staged by them over the Babli project across the Godavari river.
Judicial magistrate first class of Dharmabad in Nanded district N.R. Gajbhiye issued the order, directing the police to arrest all the accused and produce them in the court by September 21.
Naidu and others, then in the opposition in the united Andhra Pradesh, were arrested and lodged in a Pune jail in connection with the agitation staged by them near the Babli project site in Maharashtra, opposing it on the ground that it would affect the people downstream.
All of them were released later, though they had not sought bail.
The court order, dated July 5 and supposed to be executed by August 16 but corrected to September 21, was issued on a petition filed by a Maharashtra resident.
Besides Naidu, state water resources minister Devineni Umamaheswara Rao, social welfare minister N. Anand Babu and former MLA G. Kamalakar (who subsequently joined the Telangana Rashtra Samithi) were among the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) workers booked in the case.
They have been charged with offences under the Indian Penal Code, including assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty, voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means, act endangering life or personal safety of others, criminal intimidation among others.
Naidu was the leader of opposition in the united Andhra Pradesh then and the case has been pending trial all these years.
Reacting to the news about the court order, Naidu’s son and state information technology minister N. Lokesh said his father and the other TDP leaders would appear in court.
“He (Naidu) fought to protect the interests of Telangana. He even refused to seek bail when he was arrested,” Lokesh said.
The chief minister is currently camping in Tirumala, near Tirupati, attending the annual Brahmotsavam of the Lord Venkateswara temple there.>