Andhra CM seeks exemption from court appearance in knife attack case

 Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y. S. Jagan Mohan Reddy did not appear before the NIA court on Monday in a case related to a knife attack on him at Visakhapatnam airport four years ago.

Last month, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) court had directed him to be present in the court on April 10 and record his statement.

Jagan Mohan Reddy sought exemption from personal appearance on the ground that he has to discharge his duties as the Chief Minister and also on the ground that his appearance in the court may lead to traffic jam around the court premises and thus inconvenience the people.

He requested the court to appoint an advocate commissioner to record his statement.

Jagan Mohan Reddy also filed another petition, seeking an in-depth probe into the case. His counsel brought to the court’s notice that a case was registered against accused Srinivas in his native village in 2017.

The NIA court adjourned hearing on both the petitions to April 13.

Saleem, counsel of the accused, argued that the Chief Minister should appear in the court and give evidence. He submitted to the court that rule of law should be obeyed by all including the Chief Minister or the Prime Minister.

During the previous hearing, the court had examined CISF Assistant Commandant Dinesh Kumar, who was an eyewitness in the case, which is known as the Kodi Katti case.

The police had handed over to the court a ‘kodi katti’ (knife used for rooster fights), another small knife, purse, and cell phone.

Jagan Mohan Reddy was injured on his arm when a youth had attacked him with kodi katti at Visakhapatnam Airport on October 25, 2018. His security personnel had overpowered the attacker, later identified as J. Srinivas Rao, who was working at the airport canteen on a contract basis.

The then TDP government had handed over the case to a Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the state police but Jagan Mohan Reddy had refused to record his statement saying he had no trust in agencies controlled by the state government.

The YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) had moved the state high court, seeking a probe by a central agency into the case. Based on the court direction, the Centre handed over the case to the NIA on December 31, 2018 and the agency registered the case on January 1.

The 32-year-old accused has been lodged in jail since then, waiting for the trial.

Last year, Srinivas’ 75-year-old mother Savithri had written to then Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana that the case be expedited or her son be granted bail.

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