HYDERABAD: Ministers J. C. Diwakar Reddy and Gollapalli Surya Rao appeared on Tuesday to be unwilling partners to a truce announced by their senior colleague K. Rosaiah, following charges of corruption levelled against Mr. Reddy by Mr. Rao.
High drama was witnessed at the Secretariat, when Chief Minister Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy summoned the Ministers to his chamber and heard their views.
Later presenting the two Ministers before the media amid Mr. Rao’s followers, the Finance Minister said the committee headed by him, after verifying records, found that Mr. Reddy was not connected with sand auctioning in East Godavari, directly or indirectly, or with the concessions allowed to contractors.
He declared the row closed. At his instance, Mr. Rao said he regretted the remarks against Mr. Reddy. He had nothing against his “senior and experienced” Cabinet colleague. Mr. Rao left in a huff while Mr. Reddy looked flustered.
The Panchayat Raj Minister said he would abide by the decision taken by the Rosaiah Committee or the Chief Minister, indicating that he still expected a decision against Mr. Rao.
Prompted by him, Mr. Rosaiah brought Mr. Rao back after much persuasion. Mr. Rao denied having charged Mr. Reddy with “swindling of sand funds”. He said he had only expressed concern over lack of fund flow to East Godavari district. “As a Minister belonging to the district, I too have responsibility like in-charge Minister (Mr. Reddy ) over the revenue flow to the district. This matter was raised at the ZP meeting on October 25”, Mr. Rao stated.
At this stage a heated exchange ensued, with Mr. Reddy saying: “You said I ate funds. Please clarify. Mr. Rao replied: “I only said you relaxed rules”. He retorted: Everybody, including Mr. Rosaiah, knows the charges you made.”
Facing a barrage of questions from reporters who sought to know if Mr. Rao was withdrawing charges, Mr. Rosaiah blamed the media for the row. He abruptly wound up the briefing, took Mr. Reddy to his vehicle and left.