The Congress high command reportedly sought resignation of those facing criminal charges
Capping days of uncertainty over their fate, Home Minister P. Sabitha Indra Reddy and Roads and Buildings Minister Dharmana Prasada Rao handed over their resignation letters to Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy late on Sunday night.
The resignations came after the two Ministers drove down to the Jubilee Hills residence of the Chief Minister and held discussions with them. They gave their letters in tune with the reported decision taken by the high command to take action against the tainted Ministers. AICC spokesperson P. C. Chacko had spelt out the high command’s mood on Saturday when he said those facing criminal charges should voluntarily resign.
There was no official confirmation about the resignation letters and officials in the Chief Minister’s Office said they have no information.
“Mr. Dharmana handed over his resignation letter to the Chief Minister after the latter briefed him about his deliberation with the central leadership. He returned home in office car after removal of beacon and the flag,” a close aide of Mr. Prasada Rao told The Hindu.
Mr. Dharmana took a flight from Visakhapatnam to meet the Chief Minister after he held parleys with his supporters in Srikakulam. He met the Chief Minister and a little later, Ms. Sabitha Indra Reddy came to the Chief Minister’s residence in her personal vehicle. She is the first Home Minister in State to have resigned in wake of corruption charges. During the 30-minute long meeting, Mr. Reddy reportedly explained to them about the mood of the high command particularly, AICC president Sonia Gandhi and other senior leaders. He reportedly told them how he tried his best to defend their case and sought the central leadership’s nod to continue them in the Cabinet till the courts gave its final verdict.
The two Ministers are understood to have said that they were being victimised for the decisions taken by the then YSR Government. They contended that they had not benefited individually. With the two Ministers submitting their papers, a question mark hangs over the fate of three Ministers—J. Geeta Reddy, Ponnala Lakshmaiah and Kanna Laxminarayana. They have received notices from the Supreme Court for issuance of 26 controversial GOs. It is reported that the high command took a conscious decision to make them resign, following Karnataka example where MLAs facing corruption charges were not considered for ministerial berth. Mr. Dharmana had submitted his resignation letter in August last. He was Revenue Minister in the Rajasekhara Reddy Government when the GO allotting land to Vanpic was issued. Mr. Kiran Kumar Reddy had then rejected his resignation letter and the high command had also endorsed the decision. Mr. Dharmana stayed away from official duties for seven months till he resumed work during the budget session. Subsequently, the State Cabinet passed a resolution rejecting the request of the CBI to prosecute him. However, the Governor sent back the file for reconsideration.
As for Ms. Sabitha Indra Reddy, the CBI named her as an accused in the quid pro quo investment case of Kadapa MP Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy. She is the fourth in the list of 13 accused in the CBI charge-sheet filed in the case relating to allotment of limestone lease to Dalmia Cements in Kadapa district in 2008.
She held the Mines and Geology portfolio in the YSR Government during 2004-09. She was charged under Sections 120-B read with 420 and 209 of the IPC and to Sections 13 (1) (c) and (d) read with 13 (2) and nine and 12 of the Prevention of Corruption Act. She is the third Minister after Mopidevi Venkataramana Rao and Dharmana Prasada Rao to face charges in Jagan’s case.