Special Correspondent

Rosaiah asked to probe Gollapalli’s charge against J.C.

Surya Rao says he has proof on hand to substantiate his charges

Alleges that Diwakar Reddy took bribes of Rs 7 crore

HYDERABAD: In what could turn out to be a major political embarrassment for the Congress Government, two senior Ministers – G. Surya Rao (Small Scale Industries) and J.C. Diwakar Reddy (Panchayat Raj) – publicly traded charges of corruption.

Mr. Surya Rao who alleged on Saturday that Mr. Reddy was “looting” crores of rupees of public money continued his tirade on Sunday claiming that he had proof on hand to substantiate his charges. Mr. Reddy, the Minister in-charge of East Godavari district, spoke to Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy on Sunday morning and asked him to take action on the issue.

Irksome situation

As the controversy snowballed, Dr. Reddy asked two other senior Ministers, K. Rosaiah and Koneru Ranga Rao, to go into the whole episode and report to him. He wanted them to make an in-depth study of the controversy after speaking to Mr. Diwakar Reddy against whom corruption charges were levelled by Mr. Surya Rao.

Mr. Surya Rao alleged at the Zilla Parishad meeting that his fellow Minister took bribes to the tune of Rs. 7 crore in sand mining contracts and forced the officials to purchase a car exclusively for his use whenever he visits the district. “Ever since his appointment as the Minister in-charge, Mr. Diwakar Reddy’s behaviour had lowered the party’s prestige in the district,” he said.

This latest outburst of Mr. Surya Rao has thrown the party into an irksome situation as it has brought the internal squabbles within the Congress to the fore and drew widespread criticism from the party circles.

Seniors’ concern

Senior Congress leader V. Hanumantha Rao who felt that the issue was sure to dent the party’s image and prospects wanted the Chief Minister to take immediate damage control measures.

Minister Pilli Subash Chandra Bose, who also belongs to East Godavari, demanded that Mr. Surya Rao withdraw his remarks as they tantamounted to character assassination of Mr. Diwakar Reddy. He opined that the matter could be inquired, if necessary, but it was not fair on the part of Mr. Surya Rao to castigate Mr. Diwakar Reddy in such a brazen manner.

ZP Chairman Ch. Venugopala Krishna felt that the comments without verifying facts would damage the party’s reputation when it was gearing up to face elections.

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