2 tainted Andhra ministers set to be axed for role in Jagan assets case

Despite opposition from Andhra CM, Congress high command decides on sacking Sabitha Indra Reddy and Dharmana Prasada Rao, both chargesheeted by CBI

dinesh-akula

Dinesh Akula | May 18, 2013



The stage is set for the axe to fall on two Andhra Pradesh ministers whose names figured in CBI chargesheets in connection with the illegal assets case against YSR Congress chief YS Jaganmohan Reddy.

Ending weeks of suspense and dilly-dallying, the Congress high command is reported to have decided on Saturday on showing the door to the two.

The CBI had earlier named state home minister Sabitha Indra Reddy and roads and buildings minister Dharmana Prasada Rao in its fifth chargesheet in the Jagan assets case. Sabitha was the mining minister while Dharmana held the crucial revenue portfolio during the regime of the late YS Rajasekhara Reddy.

The two were responsible for some of the 26 controversial government orders that became the crux for the CBI’s cases against Jagan Reddy.

According to sources in 10-Janpath, the Congress high command’s decision has been conveyed to chief minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy, who has been camping in Delhi over this issue. Despite stiff resistance from Reddy, the party leadership is learnt to have decided to follow the same route against corruption in the state, as was chosen in the case of Pawan Bansal and Ashwani Kumar at the Centre.

The Kiran Kumar Reddy government is facing severe criticism from the opposition, and even from its own ranks, on the rationale behind continuing to host the two tainted ministers in his cabinet. Some Congress leaders have been vocal in recent times, saying that the CM’s blind support to the ministers only gives the impression of double standards and political hypocrisy in the Jagan Reddy disproportionate assets case.

Chief minister Reddy on his part is understood to be contending that sacking the two powerful ministers would send wrong signals to the party cadre in the duo’s districts. He also tried to impress upon the high command that Sabitha and Dharmana had merely acted under duress during the YSR regime, and that they had not received any financial benefits in return.

But in the end, the CM’s contention, going against the CBI’s pronounced line, failed to cut much ice with the high command, which thought it wise not to shield the chargesheeted ministers, it is learnt.

Now that the Congress high command has decided in principle, it is only a matter of time before the two ministers are eased out of the cabinet. But the party is learnt to have left it to the chief minister to decide the timing of their exit.

The party leadership also decided to adopt a ‘wait and watch’ policy in the case of three other ministers responsible for issuing other controversial government orders. The ministers, who were till now quizzed by the CBI as only witnesses, have not yet been chargesheeted.

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