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Revolver wielding MLA's bail plea rejected

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Visakhapatnam, Feb 22 (UNI) A city court today rejected the anticipatory bail plea of Parawada MLA Gandi Babji of the Congress, who is in the eye of a storm for allegedly brandishing a revolver at Telugu Desam workers during polling in the just concluded Visakhapatnam-I by-election on February 19.

Sixth Additional District Judge B Vinay Kumar today took up the bail plea of the Congress legislator and dismissed the petition saying there was prima facie evidence about the incident and that investigation was in progress. The weapon was yet to be detected and the accused being a legislator may hamper the investigation and the investigative authorities were not sure whether he held a gun licence, he said.

The Telugu Desam filed a complaint with One Town police on election day alleging that the legislator threatened a woman worker and other belonging to the TDP with a revolver, outside a polling station, just before the polling ended on Sunday.

However, the legislator denied that he was in possession of any weapon. He got himself admitted to a hospital on the same day, allegedly to evade arrest. However, the very next morning without getting formally discharged from the hospital he came to a hotel in the city and held a press conference, charging the police with victimising him and supporting the Telugu Desam.

When police reached the hotel to take him into custody, he again ''feigned illness'', complaining of chest pain, called for an ambulance and got admitted to King George Hospital.

The opposition Telugu Desam demanded that the MLA be examined by a panel of doctors from corporate hospitals in the city and said Mr Babji had gone to hospital to evade arrest.

The Election Commission postponed counting of votes, slated for today, following complaints of large scale malpractices like distribution of money and liquor to voters and breaches of model code of conduct by both Congress and TDP.

The EC has deputed a two-member panel comprising S K Mendiratta, Commission Advisor and Tapas Kumar, Secretary, to probe complaints of large scale violation of the election code.

The two parties blamed each other for indulging in money and liquor distribution. Workers of both were held by police during the polling and the day before, for allegedly indulging in distribution of money. They also seized large amount of currency.

The Andhra Pradesh government handed over the investigation of the case against the legislator to the CID yesterday.

Highly placed police sources today said technically the legislator could not be arrested until he was discharged from the hospital.

Congress party sources said the MLA was likely to move his petition in the AP High Court tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Mr Babji has been shifted to a special room from the cardiac wing of the King George Hospital.

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