Chandrababu Naidu demands CBI probe into former Andhra speaker’s death

On Monday, after condoling Rao’s death, Naidu alleged that the YSR Congress government had harassed and humiliated the six-time TDP MLA. (File)

Former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief Chandrababu Naidu has demanded a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) inquiry into the alleged suicide of former Andhra Pradesh Speaker Kodela Siva Prasad Rao. Rao, who was slapped with a criminal case for ‘illegal’ possession of legislature property, allegedly committed suicide at his Hyderabad residence on Monday.

On Monday, Naidu alleged that the YSR Congress government had harassed and humiliated the six-time TDP MLA. "This is the first time in Indian history, a senior politician has committed suicide because of government harassment. The present YSRC government headed by Jagan Mohan Reddy has created so many problems for Kodela Siva Prasada Rao," PTI quoted Naidu as saying.

Naidu also said, "They harassed him (Rao) physically, mentally and also financially"."Never in my 40-year political career ( I have seen) this type of harassment." The TDP chief flew to Hyderabad late on Monday night to pay homage to the departed leader.

Claiming that the YSR Congress government filed false cases against Rao, Naidu said, "They initiated criminal prosecution against him. They insulted him. They humiliated him and finally (filed) so many cases against his family members, against him."

The YSR Congress government must answer on the death of Rao, Naidu said. "Rao has committed suicide because of government harassment and victimisation and humiliation. Now, they (YSR Congress government) has to answer."

Rao’s tenure as Speaker was mired in controversies, with allegations of him perting furniture worth nearly Rs 1 crore from the AP Assembly to his personal offices and residence in Guntur while the capital was being shifted by Hyderabad to Amaravati. His son Shivaram was also accused of stealing laptops meant for skill development centres which he later returned.

A case was registered by the new YSRCP government under IPC sections 409 (criminal breach of trust by a public servant) and 411 (dishonestly receiving stolen property). A case was also registered against his son Shivaram for duping sales tax department by not paying tax on sale of nearly 400 two-wheelers from his showroom in Guntur town.

Sources in the TDP said that Kodela, who was dejected by his loss in the elections, talked of being hounded by the police cases and allegations against him and his family.

Kodela had denied any wrongdoing and said that he had perted the furniture belonging to the AP Assembly to prevent theft. He had then told The Indian Express that he moved the furniture and electronics as there was no space to keep them in the Speaker s office and that they could have been stolen or damaged there. He also said he had kept them until the new Assembly complex was ready at Velagapudi in Amaravati.