ANDHRA PRADESH

Forest Department officials spot two Congress activists `carrying' peacocks



Staff Reporter

High drama follows after one of them is taken into custody

ANANTAPUR: High drama followed after one of the two Congress activists, found carrying two live peacocks, was taken into custody near Kadiri on Tuesday evening.

According to police and forest department officials, forest guards Damodar Reddy and Thimma Reddy caught two Congress workers -- Venkataramana Naik and Anjaneyulu Naik on the Rayachoti Road, on the outskirts of Kadiri, when they were reportedly found carrying two peacocks in an auto. While Anjaneyulu Naik managed to give them the slip, Venkataramana Naik was detained at the Kadiri Forest Range Office.

But later, the forest guards and a watchman Nagaiah, lodged a complaint with the police alleging that DCC secretary Sivaram Pratap and party leader Radhakrishna had forcibly taken away Venkataramana Naik from their custody making casteist remarks against Nagaiah when the latter tried to obstruct them. Meanwhile, Venkataramana Naik also went to the police station and lodged a complaint alleging that he was beaten up while in the lock-up and casteist remarks made against him by Damodar Reddy. He further said the guards themselves let him off to allow him to have dinner.

But sources said that the Congress activists were allegedly taking the birds to the farmhouse belonging to Sivaram Pratap near Gajulavaripalli thanda. As Sivaram Pratap and Radhakrishna were key associates of Kadiri legislator Jonna Ramaiah, the forest officials were allegedly forced to withdraw the complaint after a compromise was struck between the two sides.

Venkataramana Naik and Anjaneyulu Naik were produced before the DFO here on Wednesday and let off on payment of fine.