No mention of violation of rules by them in CBI charge-sheets, says Kiran

Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy has strongly defended his Cabinet colleagues whose names found place in the investigations under way by the Central Bureau of Investigation into the disproportionate assets case of Kadapa MP Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy.

The issue figured in the Assembly on Tuesday leading to a furore after Telugu Desam members objected to Agriculture Minister Kanna Lakshminarayana being asked to speak. The Minister charged the TDP members with “blackmailing the Chair” when Gali Muddukrishnama Naidu (TDP) said Speaker Nadendla Manohar had denied Opposition members an opportunity to raise their grievances.

Bitter argument

There was a bitter argument between the treasury benches and the Opposition over the issuance of a Government Order, allegedly by Mr. Lakshminarayana, reducing the green belt area in the Ramky Pharma city. The Minister, however, clarified that the said GO was issued by the Municipal Administration Department, a portfolio he had never handled.

The Chief Minister said it was not proper to discuss the issue in the Assembly as CBI probe was under way. The charge-sheets filed by the CBI did not make any mention of the quid pro quo benefits or violation of rules or provisions by the Ministers concerned. Two Ministers whose names figured in the CBI charge-sheet resigned in line with the Congress high command’s policy against continuance of the Ministers facing charges.

“Submitting resignations will not mean admission of guilt,” he said adding the names of other Ministers did not even figure in the CBI cases. The CBI, he asserted, sought clarification about certain files and there was no mention of quid pro quo or personal gains in its reports.

The ruling party was prepared to reply to queries of the members if the Chair permitted a debate on the decisions taken by the government from the TDP regime, he asserted alleging that unlike TDP president N. Chandrababu Naidu who secured stays and stalled investigations, the Ministers did not obtain stays from court.

TDP’s warning

This led to a furore as the TDP members alleged that more skeletons would tumble as the CBI probe progressed further. “We are not prepared to be captive audience to ‘tainted Ministers’ and will walk out from the House if the government is bent upon continuing them in the Cabinet,” TDP member P. Ashok Gajapati Raju said.

Mr. Lakshminarayana, who was allowed to speak amid pandemonium, said he was prepared to furnish proofs of irregularities during Mr. Naidu’s regime, including the allotment of vast tracts of land by the caretaker government in 2003.