Two Andhra ministers charged in Jagan case quit

Hyderabad, May 20 (IANS) Two cabinet ministers in Andhra Pradesh charged in the Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy’s disproportionate assets case have submitted their resignations to Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy.

Home Minister P. Sabita Indra Reddy and Roads and Buildings Minister Dharmana Prasada Rao told reporters Monday after meeting the chief minister that they submitted their resignations in view of the allegations to save the Congress party from embarrassment.

They said the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had only made allegations against them. Denying that they did anything wrong while serving as ministers in the previous cabinet, the two leaders exuded confidence that they would prove their innocence in the court of law.

Both the ministers had called on Kiran Kumar Reddy at the latter’s residence here late last night. The chief minister reportedly conveyed to them the direction of the Congress central leadership.

The ministers submitted their resignations even as Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief N. Chandrababu Naidu is scheduled to meet President Pranab Mukherjee in New Delhi to demand sacking of the tainted ministers.

The Congress leadership had made it clear on Saturday that the ministers should voluntarily resign. The direction came after the chief minister camped in Delhi for four days, holding talks with the key leaders.

After his return to Hyderabad, the chief minister summoned Dharmana, who was in his native Srikakulam district in north coastal Andhra, 600 km from here. Sabitha, the first woman to become home minister in the state’s history, hails from Ranga Reddy district abutting Hyderabad.

After he was named as an accused in the fourth charge sheet 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 charge sheet 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.

Sabitha served as mining minister in YSR’s first cabinet while Dharmana held the revenue portfolio.

In May last year, then excise minister Mopidevi Venkatramna had resigned after he was arrested by the CBI in the same case. He was minister for infrastructure and investment in YSR cabinet.

However, three other ministers who were also issued notices by the Supreme Court last year in connection with the controversial orders issued by them, were left untouched.

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.

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