Sri Venkateswara Bhakti Channel (SVBC) chairman Prudhviraj Balireddy on Sunday resigned to his post after an audio clip of his alleged vulgar telephonic talk with a woman employee which went viral kicked up a controversy.
Based on a report submitted by the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) vigilance wing to its Chairman Y.V. Subba Reddy, Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy directed him to step down from the post immediately.
Addressing the media in Hyderabad on Sunday, Mr. Prudhviraj said he had submitted his resignation through fax and recalled that he had ordered a probe on his own into the incident. Claiming innocence, he said the audio clip was ‘doctored’ and was the handiwork of the opposition parties. He also dismissed the talk that he had spoken in an inebriated condition, maintaining that he had been maintaining abstinence for the last nine months.
Women’s organisations and political parties lashed out at the Telugu film actor for bringing down the reputation of the broadcasting arm of the TTD. Women under the banner of All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) took out a procession in the city and raised slogans decrying his ‘cheap talk.’
CITU district secretary K. Murali, who is also honorary president of the SVBC Employees Association, demanded that Mr. Prudhviraj be immediately stripped of his post and a comprehensive probe initiated into the allegations of harassment by women employees.
TDP general secretary and former TUDA Chairman G. Narasimha Yadav demanded the suspension of Mr. Prudhviraj, besides booking a case under the Nirbhaya Act for harassing women.
INTUC district honorary president P. Naveenkumar Reddy flayed the successive governments f turning SVBC into a political rehabilitation centre for its supporters, which had led to such ‘unfortunate’ incidents.