Hyderabad, Sep 30: The raids by Income Tax officials on the properties of Congress leader Revanth Reddy came as the latest in a series of action by authorities against the opposition party leaders in Telangana.
The IT searches over two days assume significance in the wake of ensuing elections to the State Assembly. Coming close on the heels of arrest of Jagga Reddy and a case booked against Gandra Venkatramna Reddy, the action against Revanth Reddy can’t be a mere coincidence.
It has given credence to the allegation by Congress party that TRS is resorting to ‘witchhunt’ against its leaders. TRS is coming under severe criticism from different quarters for the action against Congress leaders in old cases.
With the Election Commission of India likely to announce poll schedule anytime, the action against Revanth Reddy is seen as another attempt to target Congress leaders which are vocal in criticizing TRS, KCR and his family.
The IT conducted raids against Revanth and two other accused in cash for vote scam. The raids were mainly on Sri Sai Mourya Estate and Projects Pvt Ltd, a real estate company in which Revanth, his family and aides hold major shares
Immaneni Rama Rao, an advocate, claimed that the IT raids followed his complaint against Revanth but IT department maintains that it had been following the activities of Revanth for several months.
It is the timing of the raids which has raised doubts in the people’s minds. Revanth, who quit TDP to join Congress last year, is known for his oratory skills and is a bitter critic of KCR and his family.
Despite being caught on camera while giving bribe to nominated MLA Elvis Stephenson to make him vote for TDP candidate in legislative elections in 2015, Revanth remains a popular leader. Congress leaders say it is this popularity which KCR and TRS are afraid of.
Revanth Reddy, who was recently appointed as the working president of the party in Telangana, alleged that IT raids were conducted on him under a conspiracy by the central and state governments.
Revanth alleged that KCR is feeling insecurity and spending his time restlessly in Pragati Bhavan.
Addressing a public meeting in his constituency Kodangal, Revanth said he might be sent to jail to ensure that he doesn’t participate in campaign. He vowed to ensure TRS’ defeat even if he was jailed.
Hitting back at KCR, Revanth challenged him face a probe by a sitting judge in his and his family’s assets. Stating that he is ready to face such an investigation, he dared TRS chief to agree for the same.
Congress leader Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka accused KCR of murdering democracy by targeting opposition leaders. “Cases against the Congress leaders, activists and those questioning the government show the arrogance of the ruler,” he said.
TRS has denied the allegations made by Congress. TRS leader and state minister Jagdish Reddy said TRS government had nothing to do with the IT raids. “If Revanth Reddy has done wrong, he will definitely go to jail,” he said.
What lent credence to the opposition allegation is the manner in which the police acted against Jagga Reddy in an old case of human trafficking. The police arrested the Congress leader on a complaint by a police officer in 14-year-old case.
Jagga Reddy, a former MLA from Sangareddy constituency, allegedly obtained passports in 2004 for himself and for his wife, daughter and son by affixing the photos of others. He also allegedly obtained US visas for them and illegally transported them by accompanying them to the US as his family members.
What was surprising that police in Secunderabad took action on a complaint filed by a police official. Political observers say police will not resort to such action without direction from their political bosses.
The case booked against senior Congress leader and former MLA Venkatramana Reddy in Warangal district also raised many doubts. The police booked him for cheating and criminal intimidation after a woman staged a protest in front of his house. She alleged that Venkatramna Reddy cheated her after promising to start a family with her.
Denying the allegations, the Congress leader claimed that his opponents were using a woman to tarnish his image just before elections.