Two Andhra ministers charged in Jagan case may quit

Hyderabad, May 19 (IANS) Two cabinet ministers in Andhra Pradesh charged in the Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy’s disproportionate assets case are likely to resign following orders from the Congress central leadership, party sources said Sunday.

Home Minister P. Sabita Indra Reddy and Roads and Buildings Minister Dharmana Prasada Rao may submit their resignations to Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy later Sunday, party sources said.

The chief minister, who returned from New Delhi Saturday after a four-day visit during which he discussed the issue with the leadership, has summoned Rao to the state capital from his native Srikakulam district.

Reddy, who is from neighbouring Ranga Reddy district, is already in Hyderabad, party sources said.

The chief minister reportedly defended the ministers in his meeting with the Congress leadership.

Kiran Reddy, who called on Congress president Sonia Gandhi and other party leaders, was told to drop the two ministers in view of the mounting demand from both the opposition and a section of leaders within the ruling party.

After named as an accused in the fourth chargesheet filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in August last year, Dharmana had submitted his resignation but it was not accepted by the chief minister, who also refused to give permission to the CBI to prosecute him.

Sabitha had also offered to quit after she was named in the fifth chargesheet filed last month but the chief minister advised her not to do so.

Both the ministers, who had served in the cabinet of Jaganmohan Reddy’s father Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy (2004-09), have been accused of showing undue favours to companies which invested in Jaganmohan Reddy’s business.

The Congress government had been defending the ministers, saying they only implemented the decisions taken by the cabinet and were not the beneficiaries of the controversial orders like allotment of lands, grant of licenses and leases to companies.

The demand for dropping the tainted ministers gathered momentum after two central ministers, Ashwini Kumar and Pawan Kumar Bansal, resigned recently on the direction of Congress leadership in view of certain allegations against them.

Congress spokesperson P.C. Chacko had said in Delhi Saturday that the Andhra ministers facing criminal charges should resign voluntarily.

However, three other ministers who were also issued notices by the Supreme Court last year in connection with the controversial orders, may not be asked to quit.

The CBI had arrested another minister Mopidevi Venkatramna in May last year and he is since lodged in a jail here along with Jaganmohan Reddy and others.

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