High drama was witnessed at the house of former Minister and TDP politburo member Nakka Ananda Babu, when a police team descended from Narsipatnam town in Visakhapatnam district late on Monday night to serve a notice on him for his remarks made on ganja smuggling in the State, at a press conference he had addressed in the afternoon.
The former Minister had said that cultivation and smuggling of ganja was rampant in the State and youth were becoming slaves to drugs. He urged the State government and the Centre to initiate measures to check the illegal activity.
Tension gripped the area as a large number of TDP cadres rushed to the Minister’s house on knowing about the police presence there and raised slogans against the police and the Chief Minister, demanding that the police leave immediately.
Mr. Anand Babu refused to take the notice demanding to know if questioning the government’s failure to check illegal trade of drugs was wrong. The police however, returned saying they would return on Tuesday morning.
Earlier, TDP leader Dhulipalla Narendra Kumar was also served notice by the Kakinada police for speaking on the drugs issue.
The incident has evoked strong criticism by TDP leaders who called it “harassment of a Dalit leader” for questioning the government’s failure on a key issue like drugs smuggling.
At a press conference on Tuesday, Mr. Anand Babu called the police act “ridiculous” and said the Agency areas in Visakhapatnam had turned into a hub of illegal ganja cultivation. Reports indicated that ₹8,000 crore worth ganja was being cultivated here, and the value of the contraband in the international market was said to be close to ₹25,000 crore.
He said a police team had visited his house again on Tuesday morning and had recorded his statement after he refused to take the notice again.
In a separate press meet, the party’s national spokesperson K. Pattabhiram slammed the YSRCP government’s “jungle raj” and criticised the “over-zealous” police who “travelled all the way from Narsipatnam to Guntur” to serve notice on Mr. Anand Babu on the same night. “Despite such swift police teams, cases of rapes and attacks on Dalits are on the rise in the State,” he said sarcastically.
Citing media reports on attacks by ganja smugglers on police teams visiting parts of the State to nab them, the TDP spokesperson dared the YSRCP government to issue notices on all of them.