A local court in Hyderabad on Monday rejected bail applications of three people accused in the alleged attempt to poach Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) legislators into the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), even as the Telangana police stepped up its probe into the case.

Additional special judge for SPE (special police establishment) and ACB (anti-corruption bureau) cases court at Nampally agreed with the contention of the Special Investigation Team (SIT) that it was not appropriate to grant bail to the accused since the investigation is still at the preliminary stage.

“The court felt that if the accused are released on bail, there is scope for them to tamper with evidence and influence the witnesses,” said a senior police officer, requesting anonymity.

Three people — Nanda Kumar, a hotelier from Hyderabad; Swami Ramachandra Bharati alias S Satish Sharma from Faridabad; and Simhayajulu from Tirupati — were arrested by the Moinabad police at a farmhouse on the outskirts of Hyderabad on October 26, while they were allegedly trying to lure four MLAs of the ruling TRS (BRS).

Video tapes released to the media by chief minister K Chandrashekar Rao on November 3 purportedly showed the accused offering huge sums of money, prominent posts in the party and central government contracts to the four TRS MLAs — Pilot Rohit Reddy, Guvvala Balaraju, B Harshavardhan Reddy and Rega Kantha Rao.

Though the ACB court released the three accused on October 27 on technical ground, they were arrested a day later following a high court order. They have since been lodged in the Chanchalguda central prison in Hyderabad.

Meanwhile, the Telangana police SIT, headed by Hyderabad police commissioner CV Anand and comprising six more senior officers as members, intensified its probe in the poaching case.

On Monday, some of the team members reached Kerala’s Kochi, where a doctor who is closely associated with Ramachandra Bharati and played a key role in the poaching attempt was said to be hiding. “However, the doctor was absconding and the SIT team is questioning his aide,” a police officer said, also wanting not to be named.

The officer said the SIT team is also on the lookout for Tushar Vellampalli, president of Bharat Dharma Jana Sena (BDJS) in Kerala, whose name figured in the conversation between the accused and the four legislators, as one of the mediators in the alleged poaching bid.

In the last two days, the SIT raided the offices and residences of some people in Delhi, Haryana, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, besides Hyderabad, based on the information obtained from the call data records of the accused. The SIT also seized a few documents during the raids, the officer said.

By Shadab

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