Andhra considering top bureaucrat’s removal after scam

December 23rd, 2008 - 10:34 pm ICT by IANS  

Hyderabad, Dec 23 (IANS) Under fire from the opposition on a corruption scandal involving a senior official, the Congress government in Andhra Pradesh is contemplating to remove the state’s top-most bureaucrat, sources in the administration indicated Tuesday.Chief Secretary P. Ramakanth Reddy is likely to be removed as his name figured among the bigwigs who allegedly helped fisheries department executive engineer V. Suryanarayana in his murky deals, the sources said on condition of anonymity.

The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) last week arrested Suryanarayana and recovered from him assets worth Rs.300 million disproportionate to his income. He reportedly enjoyed patronage of some ministers and senior officials in his wrongdoings.

The pressure is mounting on the Congress government in Andhra Pradesh to act against the ministers and senior officials allegedly involved in the deals of Suryanarayana.

The government, under pressure, is likely to transfer the top bureaucrat and S.V. Prasad, a senior official, is likely to succeed him as new chief secretary.

Speculations of Ramakanth Reddy’s removal were doing rounds Tuesday even as he was admitted to a private hospital after he complained of uneasiness following the death of his mother following cardiac arrest.

Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy had already ordered a judicial probe into the scandal and had also given a clean chit to the ministers and the chief secretary.

Ramakanth Reddy has denied allegations against him and said that he was ready to face the judicial probe. He also threatened to file a defamation suit against those making “false” allegations against him.

However, the government is facing the heat on the issue as the opposition parties Monday decided to launch a joint struggle to “expose” corruption in the administration. They criticised the chief minister for giving a clean chit to the ministers and the chief secretary even before the probe was launched and demanded their resignations.

The scandal has come as an embarrassment to the ruling Congress party as it gears up for the Lok Sabha elections, likely to be held in March-April next year.

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