The Cyberabad police on Wednesday detained three people from the outskirts of Hyderabad with a “large amount of cash” that was allegedly meant to lure four legislators from the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) into the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), a senior police officer said.

The BJP denied the allegations and said it had no need to “buy MLAs” and that the whole matter was “stage-managed”.

Cyberabad police commissioner Stephen Raveendra told reporters that based on a tip-off, he and a team of senior police officials raided a farmhouse at Aziznagar in Moinabad block late on Wednesday evening.

“We took three people – Nanda Kumar, owner of Deccan Pride Hotel in Hyderabad, Swami Ramachandra Bharati alias S Satish Sharma from Faridabad near Delhi and Simha Yajulu from Tirupati – into custody. We also seized huge amount of cash from them,” Raveendra said.

Though the commissioner did not disclose the exact amount seized from them, another police official said on condition of anonymity that the seized cash was about 15 crore.

According to Ravindra, the three men were targeting MLAs Rega Kantha Rao (Pinapaka), Guvvala Balaraju (Achampet) and Beeram Harshvardhan Reddy (Kollapur) and Pilot Rohit Reddy (Tandur).

“It was the four MLAs who gave us information about the covert operation. They told us that they were contacted by certain people who asked them to defect from the TRS and join the BJP. In return, they were offered prominent posts, contracts and huge cash,” Raveendra said, adding that legal action would be taken against the accused after questioning them.

The TRS lashed out at the Opposition BJP, saying it was an attempt to lure MLAs “with a view to topple the democratically elected government of chief minister K Chandrashekar Rao”.

The government’s chief whip, Dasyam Vinay Bhaskar, said any such attempt would cost the BJP dearly. “The TRS will thwart such attempts and give a fitting reply at the national level,” he warned.

“The operation busted by the Cyberabad police exposes the mockery of democracy by the BJP. The saffron party was indulging in cheap tactics. It toppled the governments in Goa, Karnataka and Maharashtra by luring the ruling party MLAs with money. It tried to repeat it in Telangana, but our MLAs foiled the attempts,” said TRS leader Balka Suman.

“The BJP might have succeeded in purchasing Congress MLAs, but it cannot achieve the same by luring TRS MLAs who are loyal to KCR,” he said.

The BJP, however, denied the allegation. “The Telangana BJP doesn’t have either money, or necessity to purchase the TRS MLAs. It is all stage-managed drama,” BJP national vice-president DK Aruna said.


By Shadab

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