HYDERABAD: The after-effects of cash-for-vote scam continue to ripple across AP and TS. If the ACB grilled TDP MLA Sandra Venkata Veeraiah for seven hours before arresting him on Monday, AP CM N Chandrababu Naidu shunted out State Intelligence Chief AR Anuradha, and actor Pawan Kalyan stepped in with another set of homilies for the CMs of both the States.
The arrest of Veeraiah is the second in the sensational cash-for-vote case. The MLA from Sattupally constituency in Khammam district allegedly made over 10 calls to co-accused, Mattaiah Jerusalem, before contacting nominated MLA Elvis Stephenson in the run up to the MLC polls.
As the ACB went ahead with the arrest of Veeraiah, the AP government issued orders transferring State Intelligence Chief Anuradha, a move that was expected days after TS-TDP MLA A Revanth Reddy was arrested by the ACB.
Sources said Naidu expressed displeasure over the functioning of the intelligence wing as it was not able to foresee the cash-for-vote scam and alleged phone tapping by the Telangana government.
Anuradha has been replaced by AB Venkateswara Rao, presently working as Vijayawada Police Commissioner. With Rao taking over as the new Intelligence Chief, senior IPS officer D Gautam Sawang has been appointed Police Commissioner of Vijayawada. Jana Sena founder and film star Pawan Kalyan, meanwhile, waded into the murky arena and asked Chief Ministers of both AP and Telangana to bury the hatchet in the best interests of Telugu-speaking people.
The Jana Sena chief, who held his maiden press conference after the cash-for-vote scam, expressed his displeasure over the way Naidu and TS CM K Chandrasekhar Rao have been squabbling over every issue concerning the two States. “It is high time both the leaders realise that they are harming cordial relations between people of the two Telugu-speaking States. Instead of engaging in a battle, both CMs should sort out vexatious issues amicably,” he advised.
Interestingly, he was more critical of phone tapping than the cash-for-vote scam. While trying to downplay the cash-for-vote scandal, saying that involvement of money in politics has become ‘routine’, and no party was graft-free, Pawan said tapping of a CM’s phone was a serious offence.