HYDERABAD: Prohibition and Excise Minister Mopidevi Venkataramana Rao says he is confused why his name keeps popping up with disturbing frequency as a recipient of Rs10 lakh bribe from a liquor syndicate organiser Nunna Venkata Ramana. Rao’s bottled-up frustrations exploded when he marched to the chief minister’s camp office last week to protest and threatened to quit.
The Anti-Corruption Bureau’s investigation against him has raised the bar on slander in the Assembly. During a nine-hour cuss war on the liquor bribes controversy in the Assembly, Andhra Pradesh got to learn about the exploits of TDP boss Chandrababu Naidu’s son at Stanford, the bric-a-brac found in a state minister’s son’s baggage at Shamshabad airport, and the ethical dilemmas overcome by Rao’s son in deciding not to sell Black Eagle beer, apart from a lot more on the ways of the booze mafia in the state.
One marathon debate was marked by vicious innuendos between chief minister Kiran Kumar Reddy and Chandrababu Naidu. But Reddy remained unfazed. The Opposition’s three demands are: sacking of excise minister Mopidevi who has been named as a recipient of liquor bribes in Khammam district; tabling of the ACB’s findings on the liquor mafia and a judicial inquiry into the same. These were rejected outright. The chief minister’s position was his excise minister was not an accused in any case, but had only been named as the recipient of a bribe by a man who is himself an accused. The CM also denied the son of another colleague was involved in the liquor trade. Instead Reddy is on an anti-Chandrababu rampage saying Naidu himself was an accused in an ACB case when he was chief minister: “Did he resign then?”
The Andhra Pradesh High Court had given Naidu relief. An enraged TDP chief has warned Kiran Reddy that he will land in jail for contempt of court. Insults are flying freely as if the drinks are on the house at a particularly rowdy party.