Special Correspondent

Journalists for dropping of all cases leading to unconditional release of scribes

KURNOOL: A stalemate persists over the release of two stringers of vernacular dailies, who were lodged in the sub-jail here as the journalists’ union refused to avail of the bail offered by the authorities on Thursday.

They are likely to be in the prison till Monday as journalists demanded dropping of all cases at once leading to their unconditional release.

It may be recalled that B. Urukundu of Andhra Bhoomi and B. Sriramulu of Andhra Jyothi at Kodumur in Kurnool district were arrested on the charge of forgery, cheating, public mischief and harming the reputation of individuals on Wednesday.

Inputs for reports

The two stringers reportedly supplied the inputs for a news report that claimed to have unveiled a scandal in the Indiramma Housing scheme, which was published a fortnight ago.

The investigative story stated that K. Madduleti, panchayat secretary at Laddagiri (native village of Kotla family) allegedly signed a document after taking a bribe certifying Y.S.R. Reddy, M. Mareppa, M.S. Mani and A. Nagarjuna as housing beneficiaries allowing them to draw an amount of Rs 51,000 and 140 bags of cement for half completed houses.

The news report was intended to highlight the laxity and carelessness in execution of the housing programme. However, the district administration was upset by the reports and lodged a criminal complaint against the village secretary.

After an investigation, the police arrested the reporters accusing them of masterminding the news reports that injured the reputation of the Government as well as individuals.

According to the police, the journalists secured the certificate from the panchayat secretary through a fraudulent manner.

Scribes anguished

The journalist community was anguished by the arrest of the two journalists saying that the exercise was intended to “teach journalists a lesson” for writing against the administration.

The panchayat secretary who was singularly responsible for the fake certificate racket was left scot-free while journalists were taken to task, they alleged.

Journalists, supported by the Opposition parties, organised a rally and road-blockade at the Collectorate on Thursday and burnt an effigy.

Feeling the heat, the police offered to arrange bail for the two journalists though it was a holiday for the court.

But the union leaders and the newspaper managements turned down the offer saying they would obtain bail in court on Monday.