Kiran Kumar Reddy’s ministers will fan out to orchestrate the nation’s 65th Independence Day celebrations Wednesday, but there is likely to be a trace of irony in what some of them will say about freedom and nation-building.
Dharmana Prasada Rao is only the latest minister in the Kiran Kumar cabinet to be embroiled in legal tangles with his name being included in a chargesheet filed in the Vanpic case. One minister, Mopidevi Venkataramana, is already in prison facing similar charges, and several others are embroiled in litigation of one kind or another.
On I-Day 65, Express presents thumbnails of ministers and their tribulations with the law.
He is now a former minister, having lost his post after being arrested in the Jagan Mohan Reddy assets case. As the minister who signed the file giving effect to the alienation of land to the Vanpic project, he is now facing charges under Sections 120-B, 420, 409, 427-A of the Indian Penal Code and the Prevention of Corruption Act. Not counting the allegations he warded off in the liquor syndicate scam.
The secondary education minister has been convicted by the Special Court for Economic Offences and sentenced to two months simple imprisonment for violation of the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act (FERA).
He is facing fresh allegations of not mentioning the FERA case in his affidavit submitted to the Election Commission before the 2009 Assembly elections.
Dharmana Prasada Rao
Listed as accused no. 5 in the fourth chargesheet filed by the CBI in the Jagan Mohan Reddy assets case, the revenue minister’s freedom hangs in the balance on this I-Day. His deeds in the YSR regime, when the then state government allotted over 20,000 acres of land in Guntur and Prakasam districts for the Vanpic project, have come back to haunt him. The CBI has alleged that Vanpic got huge concessions from the revenue department when Prasada Rao was the revenue minister. He faces several charges under IPC, including criminal conspiracy (120-B), criminal breach of trust by a public servant (409), cheating (419 and 420), forgery for the purpose of cheating (468), using as genuine a forged document which is known to be forged (471), falsification of accounts (477A), and under sections 9, 11, 13 (2) read with 13 (1), (c) and (d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
P Sabita Indra Reddy
The home minister has already been questioned by the CBI about the mining leases granted to Gali Janardhan Reddy when she was the mines minister during the regime of Y S Rajasekhara Reddy. While the then mining secretary Y Srilakshmi has taken the rap for giving those leases, criticism continues to be levelled against Sabita because it all happened under her watch. That’s not all against Sabita. She also faces allegations from former minister P Shankar Rao that her supporters attacked him on Dec 20, 2011 when Shankar Rao visited a colony in Maheshwaram mandal. Shankar Rao described her as a “lady don” and said she took bribes to give postings in her department.
Three more in the glare
Apart from Dharmana, Mopidevi and Sabita, major industries minister J Geeta Reddy, information technology minister Ponnala Lakshmaiah, agriculture minister Kanna Lakshminarayana have also been issued notices by the Supreme Court for their role in issuing 26 controversial GOs that allegedly favoured the business interests of Jagan Mohan Reddy during the YSR regime.
T G Venkatesh
The minor irrigation minister landed in a controversy for saying that non-performing bureaucrats should be shot dead. A retired IAS officer B V Papa Rao has filed a criminal case against Venkatesh for making “inflammatory and provocative” statements. The complaint filed with the Medchal police says the minister’s statements attract criminal liability under Sections 189 and 124 A, read with Sections 107, 115, 503 and 511 of Indian Penal Code.
The labour minister courted controversy by locking up the Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy temple in Banjara Hills and abusing policemen last week. He faces criminal charges under sections 143 (unlawful assembly), 342 (wrongful restraint), 353 (preventing public servant from discharging duties), 427 (mischief causing damage), 504 (intentionally insulting to breach peace) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code.
Vatti Vasanth Kumar
Tourism minister Vatti got into a scrap over protocol issues with Denduluru MLA Chintamaneni Prabhakara Rao of the TDP during a Rachchabanda show in November last year. The TDP MLA allegedly punched the minister in the stomach and received a tight slap in exchange. They went on to push and shove each as the public watched. Based on a complaint from the TDP MLA, a case was booked against Vatti under sections 323 and 506 of the IPC. The minister too had a complaint filed againt the TDP MLA.
The transport minister and PCC chief faces allegations in connection with the liquor syndicate scam.
N Raghuveera Reddy
The revenue minister fended off allegations of misuse of public money for cloud-seeding.
Erasu Prathap Reddy
The law ministers name figured in the cash-for-bail episode involving a lower court judge.
And Bureaucrats Too
Several bureaucrats are facing allegations of questionable conduct. A quick rundown:
In prison facing allegations relating to the mining scam
V D Rajagopal
Former mines faces serious charges in the mining scam
B P Acharya
IAS officer is prime accused in the Emaar scam
Former Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation special commissioner faced allegations of irregularities in land-related issues during his stint as the Hyderabad collector.