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HC dismisses KCR's petition on power probe

The BRS chief questioned the probe into alleged power project irregularities, but the high court rejected claims of bias and upheld the commission's jurisdiction over the investigation.

News Arena Network - Telangana - UPDATED: July 3, 2024, 05:35 AM - 3 mins read

Former Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao. File photo.

HC dismisses KCR's petition on power probe

Former Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao. File photo.


In a major setback to former Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, the high court has dismissed his petition seeking to stall the ongoing judicial probe into the alleged irregularities in the state’s power sector during his regime between 2014 and 2023.

 

The Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) supremo questioned the credibility of the probe by the Justice L Narasimha Reddy Commission into the alleged irregularities in the purchase of power from Chhattisgarh and the construction of two thermal power plants – the 1080MW Bhadradri power plant and the 4000MW Yadadri power plant during the BRS regime.

 

However, a division bench of the high court, comprising Chief Justice Alok Aradhe and Justice Anil Kumar Jukanti, rejected his argument that the commission was biased and also refused to accept the argument of the former Chief Minister that the judicial commission had no jurisdiction to inquire into the power purchase agreement or the construction of the two power projects.

 

It said the terms of reference of the judicial commission were far wider than the issues adjudicated by the state power regulatory commissions.

 

KCR, as the BRS chief is popularly called, in his petition questioned the constitution of the probe commission by the Congress government.

 

He argued that the order issued by the government on March 14, constituting the judicial commission, was in violation of the provisions of the Commissions of Inquiry Act, 1952 and the Electricity Act, 2003.

 

“The commission has no jurisdiction as the terms of reference were the subject matter of adjudication before both Telangana and Chhattisgarh State Electricity Regulatory Commissions,” he said.

 

Stating that the judicial commission had served him a notice asking him to file a reply on or before June 15, the BRS chief pointed out that even before he could submit the reply, Justice Narasimha Reddy held a press conference on June 11, affirming that there were irregularities in the power purchase from Chhattisgarh and the construction of Bhadradri and Yadadri power plants.

 

“The proceeding initiated by the Commission suffers from bias and the issue pending before it has already been pre-judged,” KCR argued and told the court that he had written a letter to Justice Narasimha Reddy to recuse himself from heading the commission.

 

However, the court ruled that the Commission of Inquiry is purely a fact-finding body and is required to collect facts through evidence produced before it.

 

“It has neither any power to pronounce a binding or definitive judgment nor has power to enforce its report,” the bench said.

 

The judicial commission would give a reasonable opportunity to the petitioner to be heard in the inquiry and to produce evidence in his defense, the bench added.

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