VIJAYAWADA: In a major development, the Ministry of Home Affairs handed over the investigation into the attack on Andhra Pradesh state Leader of Opposition and YSRC president YS Jaganmohan Reddy in the VIP lounge of Visakhapatnam airport in October last year, to the National Investigation Agency (NIA).
The MHA's Under Secretary to the Government of India Dharmender Kumar issued orders handing over the case to NIA on December 31, 2018. Subsequently, the NIA registered an FIR on January 1, 2019, under Section 307 of IPC and Section 3A (1)(a) of Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against Safety of Civil Aviation Act - 1982, and reportedly began the investigation into the sensational case of the attack against Jaganmohan Reddy.
"The case constitutes offences punishable under Section 3A 91) (a) of the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against Safety of Civil Aviation Act, 1982, which is a scheduled Offence as per the NIA Act, 2008,'' the orders read and asked NIA to investigate the case. The Centre on Friday placed the order copy before the AP High Court which was dealing with a petition seeking handing over of the case to an independent agency.
Jaganmohan Reddy, who was touring the State as part of his Praja Sankalpa Yatra, was on his way to Hyderabad to attend a court trial when he was attacked by a rooster fight knife in the VIP lounge area of the Visakhapatnam airport on October 25. Soon after the attack, the State DGP RP Thakur and TDP leaders including Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu went on to say that the attacker, J Srinivasa Rao, was a follower of YS Jagan and attacked the leader only to garner publicity. Srinivasa Rao works as a waiter at a restaurant within the airport premises and approached Jagan on the pretext of taking a selfie and attacked him with the sharp knife.
YSRC, however, contended there is a conspiracy behind the attack and its MLA from Mangalagiri constituency Alla Ramakrishna Reddy approached the AP High Court seeking a probe into the case by an independent agency as the attack took place inside the airport, which comes under the purview of the CISF security and controlled by the union civil aviation ministry.
The court had earlier sought the MHA to explain its stand on it. Even as the case hearing was supposed to be held on Friday (today), the MHA issued orders handing over the case to NIA on December 31, 2018.
The NIA, which registered an FIR, took up the probe with Mohammad Sajid Khan, additional SP (NIA - Hyderabad) as the investigation officer.
Addressing media later at temporary High Court in the CM camp office on Friday, YSRC Party legal advisor Ponnavolu Sudhakar Reddy alleged that Telugu Desam Party chief N Chandrababu Naidu and his party leaders tried to eliminate Jagan Mohan Reddy fearing his gaining popularity in the public and planned knife attack in the Airport. He also said the police department suppressed the incident claiming Srinivas committed the crime for publicity.
"We still wonder how come the State Police can investigate when the Airport secured by CISF comes under central government's zone. Truth will be revealed in the NIA investigation and culprits will be brought to justice," said Sudhakar Reddy.