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Last Updated: Thursday, 5 August, 2004, 11:38 GMT 12:38 UK
Court reprieve for India minister
By Omer Farooq
BBC correspondent in Hyderabad

A court in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh has withdrawn a warrant for the arrest of a federal minister over alleged misuse of election funds.

K Chandrashekhar Rao has been accused of keeping deposit cash from candidates hoping to contest assembly elections.

The court instead set a date for a hearing on 15 September and instructed Mr Rao to appear.

Mr Rao said he was happy the warrant had been suspended and would appear before the court.

He denies any wrongdoing.

'Politically motivated'

The court acted on an appeal by a lawyer for Mr Rao - the head of the regional Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) party and a federal minister without portfolio.

Leading TRS member N Parhalad had filed a complaint to the court that Mr Rao had collected 7.8m rupees ($168,500) from candidates who wanted to contest recent assembly elections on the TRS party ticket.

Mr Parhalad said he too had sought a TRS ticket for a seat and deposited 10,000 rupees for it.

He says he did not get the ticket, nor did Mr Rao return his money.

The court had issued a warrant for Mr Rao's arrest when he failed to appear as instructed on Wednesday.

The minister, who was in Delhi, has said the case filed against him is politically motivated.

The TRS says the deposit money has been returned to applicants and only a small number have not taken it back.

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