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Photo: Pradeep Gaur/Mint
Photo: Pradeep Gaur/Mint

SC stays high court's gag order on media in Amravati land scam case

  • The SC bench asked the high court not to decide on the petition till the case is pending before the top court. The case will be next heard by the apex court in the last week of January

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday stayed the Andhra Pradesh High Court's order barring the media from reporting on the contents of an FIR in the Amravati land scam issue.

The apex court bench, headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan, passed the order on a plea filed by the Andhra Pradesh government challenging the 15 September high court order suspending probe into the Amravati land scam case.

The high court had stayed the investigation into the FIR registered by the anti-corruption bureau of the state. The top court has not lifted the stay on the probe as of now.

The high court had also directed that news pertaining to the "registration of FIR or in the context of the said FIR shall not be made public in any electronic, print or social media". The Supreme Court has stayed this part of the high court’s order.

The SC bench asked the high court not to decide on the petition till the case is pending before the top court. The case will be next heard by the apex court in the last week of January.

An FIR had been registered by the Andhra Pradesh police against 14 people, including former advocate general and two daughters of a Supreme Court judge, on allegation that the accused had bought land in the Amravati area before it was announced as the new capital in 2015.

On Wednesday, senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan, representing the state, apprised the bench that on 8 September a probe was ordered in the case and on 15 September a petition challenging this probe was filed.

Senior advocate Harish Salve and Mukul Rohtagi appeared on the basis of the caveat filed on behalf of the advocate general and respondents. They argued that it was a case of “regime revenge" since there is no illegality in buying land as it was a public knowledge that Amravati would be named the new capital. Rohtagi said, “My client is targeted because he was appearing for the (former) CM. This case reeks of malafide."

Post-hearing the argument, the three-judge bench agreed to hear the matter and issued notices o the respondents in the case including former advocate general, DGP and DG(ACB).

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