Chittoor ex-MLA survives attack on life

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In a state of shock: C.K. Babu, former MLA of Chittoor, being carried on a stretcher after a bomb attack on his life in Chittoor on Monday.
In a state of shock: C.K. Babu, former MLA of Chittoor, being carried on a stretcher after a bomb attack on his life in Chittoor on Monday.

Special Correspondent

TIRUPATI: Former Chittoor MLA C.K. Jayachandra Reddy, better known as C.K. Babu, has survived a second attempt on his life in less than a year. He narrowly escaped an attack on his Qualis van at Chittoor on Monday morning when assailants blew up the culvert with powerful explosives reportedly using a remote control. Sources quoting eye-witness accounts said that the intensity of the explosion was so high that the vehicle with seven on board flew up and crash-landed with a thud.

Though the former MLA, sitting in the backseat flanked by his gunmen escaped with injuries, one of his four gunmen -- Surendra who reportedly sustained multiple injuries succumbed to the wounds shortly after admission in the hospital. Besides Mr. Babu, there were four gunmen and a spare driver inside the vehicle when the assailants triggered the explosion while he was on his way to the Shirdi Sai temple as is his daily morning routine before starting his work. Police suspect that the miscreants activated the bomb using a remote control from a Vinayaka temple across the road; they have reportedly recovered from the scene a 30-ft long wire.

All the injured, including the former MLA, were rushed to the Christian Medical College (CMC) Hospital, Vellore across the border in Tamil Nadu after initial treatment in the Chittoor Government General Hospital. Though Mr. Babu is said to be in a state of shock, he is declared out of danger. The condition of the three gunmen -- Govindu, Nagaraj and Purushotham, driver Rehmathullah and the spare driver Suri -- is also said to be stable. Two of Mr. Babu’s close aides -- Sivaprasad Reddy and Saravana -- following his vehicle in a motorcycle were also said to have been badly injured.

Mr. Babu is a three-time MLA of Chittoor -- the last two as a Congress representative. He contested unsuccessfully as a Congress-backed independent candidate for the seat in the 2004 general elections.

It was only in February this year that Mr. Babu narrowly escaped a deadly attack on his life when a suspected hired assassin stormed his room and tried to shoot him down. Mr. Babu has since on police advice not only shifted his residence to a safer place but also been meticulously following all the security precautions. When word spread about the attack, Mr. Babu’s followers smashed the windscreens of a few buses and ransacked some shops.

CM speaks to Babu

Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy has spoken to Mr. Babu over phone.

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