KAKINADA: The public outburst of Small Scale Industries Minister Gollapalli Surya Rao against Panchayat Raj Minister J.C. Diwakar Reddy comes as a culmination to the uneasy relation between the two for the past few months.

Differences between Mr. Surya Rao and Mr. Diwakar Reddy have been simmering ever since the latter was made Minister in-charge of East Godavari district following the transfer of a government employee. The shifting of MDO of Uppalaguptam of Allavaram constituency allegedly at the behest of Mr. Diwakar Reddy without the knowledge of Mr. Surya Rao is said to be the crux of the issue.

Mr. Surya Rao gave vent to his feelings at the ZP meeting on Saturday where he accused his senior colleague of taking bribes from businessmen who allegedly formed into a syndicate to corner contracts for different sand ramps in the district that resulted in lower income to the ZP from sand auctions.

Auction issue

Continuing his tirade on Sunday, Mr. Surya Rao wanted to know why the income from sand auctioning came down steeply after the Mining Department took over auctioning duty. He attributed it to the corrupt deals indulged in by the in-charge Minister Mr. Diwakar Reddy who was allegedly taking arbitrary actions against Dalit employees and harassing officials on flimsy grounds during his visits to the district.

“I am not new to politics and I have all proof pertaining to the charges. I am prepared for any punishment if I am proved wrong and quit active politics,” Mr. Surya Rao said. He alleged that Mr. Reddy diverted funds collected through sand auctions and ensured that works pertaining to his department in the agency area of Rampachodavaram were taken up on nomination basis rather than calling for bids.

Mr. Reddy who briefed Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy about the incident on Sunday morning, however, refused to comment on the accusations made against him except saying they were false. Dr. Reddy is understood to have asked the former not to make any public statements about the episode.

Meanwhile, Mr. Rao refused to withdraw his remarks against the Minister, saying he stood by whatever he had said .