TDP under assault; Jagan may go hammer and tong against Naidu

Jinka Nagaraju

Hyderabad: A press note issued by the IT department, barely 24 hours after chief minister YS Jaganmohan Reddy’s 100-minute long meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is being interpreted as the beginning of a series of assaults on Telugu Desam Party (TDP).

Many see the Income Tax department’s press note as the consequence of a rapprochement between the Chief Minister and the Prime Minister.

The media note signed by Surabhi Ahluwalia, Commissioner, IT, Media, had been issued exactly a week after the raids it conducted on in 40 premises in Hyderabad, Vijayawada, Pune, Visakhapatnam, Kadapa, and other places had yielded unaccounted money to the tune of Rs 2,000.

The press note, which appears to provide much-needed ammunition for YSRC, disclosed that search operation was also carried out on the residence and offices of close associates of TDP supremo, including ex-personal secretary of an eminent person. The note said that the raid has yielded incriminating evidence.

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YSRC Congress has been facing criticism for not finding any evidence against Naidu’s alleged corruption even after 9 months into power.

The clear reference to a prominent political person and his ex-private secretary are enough for YSR Congress to attack Chandrababu Naidu. 

The press note did identify the ‘prominent political personality.’

In fact, the YSRC has been waiting for a clue ever since IT raided the premises of Pendiyala Srinivasa Rao, the former personal secretary of Chandrababu Naidu, who lost elections to the YSR Congress in the previous round, some time back.

Sajjala Ramakrishna Reddy, Advisor to the AP government (public affairs), said the seizure of unaccounted money from Naidu’s ex-PS, is huge and one should know where has it come from.  “If the IT raids unearthed Rs 2,000 crore from Chandrababu Naidu’s personal secretary’s house, imagine what Naidu could be caught with…you cannot imagine how many thousands of crores of rupees can be retrieved,” he wondered. 

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Sakshi, the Telugu daily owned by Jagan’s family, reported that Chandrababu Naidu has rushed to Hyderabad following the IT department disclosures.

Former finance minister Anam Ramanarayana Reddy said the IT raids had clearly vindicated the charges of corruption the YSRC had been leveling against Naidu. “How come, a lowly placed employee of a chief minister’s office amasses so much money?” he asked and demanded a high-level probe into the sources of money and the persons operating from behind Srinivasa Rao.

Alleging that Rs 2000 crore unaccounted money appears as clear loot of the state, YSRC Minister Balineni Srinivasa Reddy said, “What the IT department revealed was only a tip of a scam of unbelievable a dimension. If a raid on personal secretary’s house could yield Rs 2,000 crore, how much money a raid on the house of his boss would yield?” the minister wondered.

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On another side, TDP has deployed party veterans like former finance minister Yanamala, Gorantla  Butchaiah Chowdary, spokesperson Panchumarthi Anuradha and MLA Bonda Uma Maheswara Rao to tackle the brewing storm.

The party, as a first step, has denied any connection between former PS and Chandrababu Naidu. “In his 40 years of service more than 15 employees have served as personal secretaries to Naidu. How do you hold Naidu responsible for their activities?” Yanamala asked.

However, the TDP is finding it difficult to defend Naidu in the light of IT department press note as it spoke volumes without naming anybody.

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