RS member to sue Congress MLA for defamation; seek Rs. 5 crore in damages
Senior Congress leader and Rajya Sabha member T. Subbarami Reddy on Thursday said he would file a defamation suit and seek Rs.5 crore in damages from his party MLA Daggubati Venkateswara Rao for levelling “baseless and imaginary” allegations against him.
He held a press conference a day after Dr. Venkateswara Rao, husband of Union Minister D. Purandeswari, made a serious allegation of corruption against him.
Both Ms. Purandeswari and Mr. Subbarami Reddy are serious contenders for Congress ticket from Visakhapatnam Lok Sabha constituency.
Mr. Subbarami Reddy said Dr. Venkateswara Rao had no credibility in politics and had joined the Congress after being in the Telugu Desam Party and the Bharatiya Janata Party. “I am not in the habit of making personal allegations,” he said.
Reacting to the allegation that he was arrested for black-marketing cement meant for Nagarjunasagar dam, he said a case was booked against him after the watchman of a firm owned by him was arrested for selling 80 bags of cement for Rs.4,000 in 1981.
Later, the courts gave him a ‘clean chit’ and acquitted him.
Stating that he “sacrificed” Visakhapatnam Lok Sabha ticket in favour of former chief minister N. Janardhan Reddy in 1999 and Ms. Purandeswari in 2004, he justified his claim for the seat on the ground that he was a “popular leader and social worker of the area”.
Special Correspondent from Hyderabad adds: Dr. Venkateswara Rao made light of the threat by Mr. Subbarami Reddy to sue him. “I feel the amount is small. But let me tell you, if he approaches the court, more information about his misdeeds will come out,” he told reporters here on Thursday.
Rajya Sabha member V. Hanumantha Rao said it was not good for senior leaders to quarrel openly and cause damage to the party. The Pradesh Congress Ccommittee president should intervene and appeal to the leaders to avoid open criticism.