Revanth Reddy, Aides Face Sting Op
The 2015 cash for vote scam was a sensational political scandal that started off when Revanth Reddy, then from TDP, was caught on tape offering a bribe to a nominated MLA, Elvis Stephenson, for his vote in the 2015 elections of the Telangana Legislative Council. Supposed evidence also contained an audio file with then AP CM Chandrababu Naidu’s voice talking to the MLA about the deal. The case blew to a proportion where it became a tug-of-war between KCR and Naidu and their parties. The case led to Revanth Reddy quitting TDP and joining Congress.
Sudhakar covered this political turning point of the Telugu states from the beginning, giving in-depth coverage into the latest developments of the case. He put forth important points in the ACB 316-page chargesheet such as how Naidu’s name is mentioned 22 times in it and so on. Sudhakar also detailed the forensic report on the primary piece of evidence – the video and audio tapes. The Forensic Science Laboratory confirmed that the tapes were authentic and were not tampered with. Crucial witnesses in the case included Ravanth’s gunmen, Nara Lokesh and KTR’s drivers.
Sudhakar regularly reported on the ACB’s strategy to get to the bottom of the case. Sudhakar wrote about laxity on part of the ACB officials in processing the charge sheet of the case and also when they failed to find the source of the bribe money. Sudhakar also reported how the ED had pushed the case into cold storage even when it had to investigate in to the allegations of money laundering in the case.
The case did see some development in 2018 when the I-T department conducted multiple I-T raids on the accused, their aides, and family members to get to the bottom of their financial status and business activities. Sudhakar pieced the involvement of suspects in recent scams to comment on how too many mediators can spoil any high stakes under the table deals. There were at least three mediators involved in this cash for vote scam.