In the hallowed halls of the Supreme Court of India, the case of N Chandrababu Naidu, former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) leader, unfolded with a distinctive gravity. Naidu, embroiled in the Skill Development Corporation scam case, had his plea for interim bail denied, casting a long shadow over his political future and sparking a debate that extends beyond the confines of the courtroom
Naidu stands accused of causing a loss of approximately Rs 371 crore to the state exchequer, entangled in the intricate web of the Skill Development Corporation scam case. His arrest in September 2021 set the stage for a legal battle that has drawn national attention. Represented by senior advocate Harish Salve, Naidu sought interim bail citing his age and the 40 days he has already spent in custody. However, the bench of Justices Aniruddha Bose and Bela M Trivedi denied the plea, leaving the question of his guilt or innocence in the hands of the ensuing verdict.
The crux of Naidu’s argument lies in the interpretation of Section 17A of the Prevention of Corruption Act. This provision mandates prior approval from the competent authority before conducting an investigation against a public servant. Naidu’s contention is that the FIR against him was registered without obtaining this crucial approval, rendering his arrest illegal. The debate over the interpretation of Section 17A and its retrospective application to offences predating the 2018 amendment that introduced the provision has thus become central to the case.