Armed with the statement made before a magistrate by nominated MLA Elvis Stephenson and the mirror image of evidence in the cash-for-vote case, which are expected soon, anti-corruption bureau (ACB) sleuths are likely to speed up investigation in the high-profile case.
In his confession before the magistrate recorded under section 164 of CrPC on June 17, Stephenson, who is the complainant in the note-forvote case, said that Bishop Sebastian Harry called on his mobile and later handed over the phone to N Chandrababu Naidu to talk to him. Stephenson also said that TDP MLA A Revanth Reddy and Harry told him that they were talking to him on behalf of the TDP president.
Though ACB sleuths could issue notices to any of the individuals involved in the scam on the basis of Stephenson’s statement to appear before the investigating officer for inquiry like they did in the case of TDP leader Vem Narender Reddy and TDP MLA Sandra Venkata Veeraiah, they want to have additional corroboratory evidence as it is a high-profile case.
The ACB had initially thought of getting a report from the FSL to proceed further, but as authentication of audio and audio visual samples is taking time, they filed a petition in the ACB court seeking a copy of the evidence from FSL, following which the lab submitted mirror images of the same to the court. The ACB then filed a memo before the court on Thursday seeking the copies.
ACB sleuths want to transcribe the entire audio conversation between Stephenson and others in case they secure a copy of the evidence. “If the copy of the evidence contains the purported conversation between Stephenson, Sebastian and Naidu, then our case will be strengthened further,“ an ACB official said.
In addition to voice records, other corroboratory evidence like location of cell phones of the accused at particular times mentioned by Stephenson, SMS and Whatsapp message communications between Stephenson and the accused would allow ACB to take the next step like serving notices on more suspects for questioning or even inclusion of more names in the FIR.