With the AICC diktat finally sending the two CBI chargesheeted Ministers -- Dharmana Prasada Rao and P. Sabitha Indra Reddy -- home, anxiety is rising among the remaining four Ministers in the dock.
Of the four, three of them, Ponnala Lakshmaiah, J. Geeta Reddy and Kanna Laxminarayana have received notices from the Supreme Court for issuing controversial Government Orders that allegedly helped Kadapa MP, Y. S. Jaganmohan Reddy’s companies. The fourth one, K. Parthasaradhi, has obtained a court stay after being convicted in a FEMA violation case.
Such is the pressure on these Ministers that Mr. Pardhasaradhi preferred to meet the Chief Minister, N. Kiran Kumar Reddy, on Tuesday evening ostensibly to seek his advice and know the high command’s view in his case.
The unexpected tough stand taken by the AICC and the unambiguous manner in with which it asked the Chief Minister to seek the resignations of Mr. Prasada Rao and Ms. Sabitha apparently has rattled the threesome, leaving a question mark over their future. Senior leaders said the Ministers’ fear was justified as it stems from the fact that the high command has raised the bar over tolerance of anything remotely relating to corruption and impropriety, preferring to go with the prevailing mood among the people.
It reportedly now wants prompt action against Ministers whose names figure in the charge-sheets filed by investigative agencies in a court of law. This has further fuelled apprehensions among the three Ministers as the CBI has made it clear that it would file four or five charge-sheets more in the Jagan’s quid pro quo investment case. What would happen if one after another are named in these charge-sheets? Would the axe fall on them? The Ministers keep their fingers crossed.
A section of party leaders discern in high command’s changed stand a fallout of Mr. Dharmana’s case where it adopted a wait and watch approach, which they feel dented the party’s image. Soon after he was charge-sheeted by the CBI in the VANPIC case, Mr. Prasada Rao stayed away from work before the Chief Minister coaxed him to return to office, only to be told to quit, all in seven months flat.