Terming the death of the former speaker of Andhra Pradesh, Mr. Kodela Siva Prasada Rao, who allegedly committed suicide, as 'murder,' the Telugu Desam Party chief, Mr. N. Chandrababu Naidu, has demanded a CBI probe into the circumstances leading to the incident.
Blaming the Y. S. Jagan Mohan Reddy-led government for the death, Mr. Naidu said, 'I have seen 11 chief ministers in my career, and I myself have held the post for so many years. I have never seen such a chief minister (Jaganmohan Reddy). This (suicide) is nothing but murder.'
'The entire case has to be investigated by the CBI. Intellectuals in this country should debate on the government's attitude,' the TDP chief added. Based on eye-witness accounts, Mr. Rao is suspected to have committed suicide. The 72-year-old leader was last month slapped with a criminal case by Andhra Pradesh police for alleged illegal possession of Assembly furniture.
The ruling YSR Congress in the state had dubbed Mr. Kodela a 'thief' who stole the Legislature property, a charge that he denied. Hitting out at the state government, Mr. Naidu said 19 'baseless and unfounded' cases, including some related to extortion and breach of trust were foisted against the family members of the departed leader, violating the Supreme Court's guidelines.
According to Mr. Naidu, the furniture missing case filed against the former speaker was 'petty' in nature and the Guntur police booked a case under Section 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servant ).
The former state chief minister said Mr. Rao wrote two letters to the Assembly secretary to take back the furniture he kept in his camp office in June and also in August. However, the state government chose to file a case against him, Mr. Naidu alleged.
Calling the Jaganmohan Reddy dispensation as 'worse than a terrorist government,' Mr. Naidu said, Mr. Rao was mentally, physically, and financially harassed and intimidated.
The government abetted the suicide and it is a clear case study on 'vindictive politics,' which people of the state should be made aware of, he said. Meanwhile, Mr. Naidu paid homage to the departed leader at TDP headquarters before his body was taken to Guntur.