Andhra Pradesh, Telengana Send Telcos to Court over Phone-tapping allegations

New Delhi,July 22 :  Crossing wires between Andhra Pradesh and Telangana over phone-tapping allegations has driven telecom operators to the Supreme Court.

Bharti, Reliance and Idea are among telecom operators who, caught between the squabbling neighbours, have approached the court for protection. Their petition will be heard tomorrow.

The dispute revolves around allegations of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu that his Telangana counterpart K Chandrasekhara Rao sanctioned the tapping of his phones. His government has demanded that telecom operators hand over records of phone-tapping in Telangana. The Telangana government has told the companies not to comply with that demand.

"If we don't hand over the records to the Andhra Pradesh government we will be penalized by them, but if we do, then we will be punished by Telangana," lawyers of the telecom firms said in court.

The dispute began after a channel part owned by KCR's family aired an audio recording last month of a purported conversation between Mr Naidu and a lawmaker. KCR's Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) alleges that Mr Naidu was trying to make a deal with independent lawmaker Elvis Stephenson to ensure support for his party candidate in Telangana legislative council polls.

Mr Naidu has claimed the tape was doctored and his phone was tapped.
The cash-for-vote scandal surfaced with the arrest of Revanth Reddy, a legislator of Mr Naidu's Telugu Desam Party (TDP) by the Telangana anti-corruption bureau, allegedly while he was offering bribe to Elvis Stephenson.

Both the TDP and the TRS have accused each other of trying to buy support for the elections.

Both chief ministers are working out of Hyderabad since Telangana was carved out of Andhra Pradesh in June last year.

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