Andhra Congress chief defends ministers

Hyderabad, April 14 (IANS) Andhra Pradesh state Congress chief Botsa Satyanarayana Sunday defended ministers facing charges in YSR Congress party leader Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy’s disproportionate assets case.

He said that ministers in Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy’s (YSR) cabinet acted on the late chief minister’s directions and claimed they had nothing to do with the “dealings” behind such decisions.

Botsa, who is also minister for transport, was talking to reporters in the temple town of Tirupati.

He said while the then cabinet was collectively responsible for the decisions taken, they neither had knowledge of the real beneficiaries of the decisions nor were connected to the “deals”.

Botsa also served as minister in YSR’s cabinet from 2004 to 2009.

YSR died in a helicopter crash in September 2009, a few months after the Congress retained power in the state.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which is probing his son Jaganmohan Reddy’s alleged illegal assets, has named three state ministers as accused in the case.

One of the ministers, Mopidevi Venkatramna, who resigned after his arrest in May last year, is currently in Chanchalguda Jail, where Jaganmohan is also lodged.

The agency last week filed a chargesheet naming state Home Minister Sabitha Indra Reddy as an accused. As the minister of mines and geology in YSR’s cabinet, she had signed an order allotting limestone mines to a cement company which had invested in Jaganmohan’s business.

With some more ministers of Kiran Kumar Reddy’s cabinet are also facing a probe for the controversial orders issued by them during YSR’s tenure, the ruling Congress party is going all out to defend them.

With the main opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) mounting pressure on all “tainted” ministers to quit, the government is trying to give a clean chit to them on the grounds that they acted in accordance with the rules and had no knowledge of who were the real beneficiaries of the decisions.

Labour Minister D. Nagender Sunday said the ministers individually could not be held responsible for the collective decisions of the cabinet.

He, however, advised his cabinet colleagues not to make inappropriate remarks against the late leader and his family members.

Finance Minister Anam Ramnarayan Reddy had said Friday: “If there is a provision in law for capital punishment for corruption, no one deserves it better than Jaganmohan.”

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