Andhra opposition protests transfer of official probing liquor scandal
Hyderabad, April 6 (IANS) Opposition parties in Andhra Pradesh Friday asked Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy to revoke the transfer of a police official who was probing the liquor pay-off scandal allegedly involving some ministers.
A delegation of leaders of Telugu Desam Party (TDP), Communist Party of India (CPI) and Lok Satta called on the chief minister and urged him to defer the order at least till the official submits his report to the state high court on the status of the investigations.
The opposition parties alleged that Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) additional director Srinivas Reddy was transferred under pressure from transport minister and state Congress chief Botsa Satyanarayana.
The chief minister, however, told the delegation that the transfer was not aimed at protecting anybody but was done as part of the normal process. He pointed out that Sreenivas Reddy was promoted as inspector general of police and posted as chief of coastal security.
The chief minister said Sreenivas Reddy's successor would continue an impartial probe.
The opposition delegation, however, was unsatisfied. TDP leader M. Narasimhulu said that since Sreenivas Reddy was investigating the role of Botsa and other ministers, he was transferred.
CPI state secretary K. Narayana said the government succumbed to pressure by the liquor syndicate. He alleged that Congress president Sonia Gandhi and party general secretary incharge of party affairs in the state Ghulam Nabi Azad intervened in the matter to transfer the IPS official.
Addressing a TDP meeting, its president and former chief minister N. Chandrababu Naidu said mafias were ruling the state. He pointed out how the ACB official was transferred just before the chief minister was to leave for New Delhi.
Both the chief minister and state Congress chief were summoned to the national capital by the party leadership amid reports of growing rift between the two over the liquor scandal.
Meanwhile, the general administration department sent the transfer memo to Srinivas Reddy, indicating that the government is going ahead with the implementation of the transfer order despite a letter by ACB director D. Bhoobathi Babu seeking Srinivas Reddy's retention.
Babu has written to chief secretary Pankaj Dwivedi to revoke the transfer order as it would send wrong signals and hamper the probe.
The transfer came at a time when the probe by Srinivas Reddy led to arrest of several excise and police officials and liquor traders. The ACB raids also revealed the alleged role by politicians, who colluded with liquor traders to allow them to sell liquor at prices higher than the maximum retail price fixed by the excise department.
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