Andhra minister to stand by allegations made against colleagueOctober 29th, 2008 - 5:57 pm ICT by IANS
Hyderabad, Oct 29 (IANS) The Congress government in Andhra Pradesh faced more embrassment Wednesday with a minister reiterating serious charges of corruption levelled against his cabinet colleague despite a ministerial committee giving the latter a clean chit.Animal Husbandry Minister G. Surya Rao created a storm last week by alleging that Panchayat Raj Minister J.C. Diwakar Reddy had taken a bribe of Rs.70 million from those involved in illegal quarrying of sand.
The three-member committee formed by Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy to conduct an inquiry, gave a clean chit Tuesday to Reddy.
The chief minister, who held a three-hour meeting with the ministerial committee Tuesday night in the presence of both the ministers, pulled up Rao for going public with serious charges of corruption against his cabinet colleague and thus denting the image of the government a few months before the elections.
Rao Wednesday said he still stands by his allegations against Reddy.
Talking to newsmen in Amalapuram, he denied the claim made by Finance Minister K. Rosaiah that he tendered an apology to Reddy for making the allegations.
Rosaiah, who headed the three-member committee, had earlier claimed that the row between the two ministers ended with Rao regretting his remarks.
Rao had thrown an open challenge that he will quit politics if he was not able to prove his allegations.
The minister for animal husbandry also alleged that using the bribe money Reddy purchased a new car worth Rs.1.2 million.
While Rao belongs to the East Godavari district in coastal Andhra, Reddy comes from Anantapur district in Rayalseema. The latter is also the minister incharge for East Godavari district.
Rao said that he had drawn the attention of the chief minister about the activities of Reddy but no action was taken against him.
Another senior Congress leader and MP from Amalapuram, Harsha Kumar also supported Rao’s allegations. He too claimed that the chief minister did not respond to his letter, in which he had drawn his attention towards the activities of Reddy.
The mud slinging by the two ministers has left the Congress government red faced at a time when parties were gearing up for the assembly and Lok Sabha elections, likely to be held early next year.
Reddy has alleged that Rao was making such allegations as he might be planning to defect from Congress to another party.
There were speculations a few weeks ago that Rao might leave Congress to join Praja Rajyam floated by Telugu superstar Chiranjeevi.