Ahead of the crucial bypoll which is less than a week away, high-voltage drama prevailed in Siddipet on Monday night after police seized Rs 18.67 lakh following raids on BJP candidate Raghunandan Rao and his relatives. Three locations were searched, and the seized money was nabbed from the house of S Anjan Rao, kin of M Raghunandan Rao.
But the situation went out of control when the police team was confronted by Raghunandan Rao and BJP workers at the residence of Rao's father-in-law Surabhi Ramgopal while searches were being held. CCTV footage circulating on social media showed both the parties clashing with each other and police officials claim it was during the confrontation that BJP cadres allegedly robbed Rs 5.81 lakh from the total seized money and ran away.
#WATCH: Ruckus was created during the search that was conducted at a location related to BJP's Dubbak assembly seat by-poll candidate Raghunandan Rao.
— ANI (@ANI) October 26, 2020
While addressing the media, Siddipet Commissioner Joel Davis said the raids were carried out following a tip-off that money was being used to influence voters ahead of the bye-elections on November 3. "We raided Siddipet Municipality Chairman Rajanarasu, S Ram Gopal, father in-law of the BJP candidate and one of his relative S Anjan Rao from whose house Rs 18.67 lakh was recovered. During our interrogation, Anjan Rao claimed that the money was sent to him by his brother-in law Jithedar Rao to distribute to the voters. Everything was videographed and a search report was also given to the family", he said.
The police commissioner further said that legal action will be taken against Rao and his followers for 'manhandling' the search party. Meanwhile, the BJP claims the money was planted by the police in Raghunandan Rao's house to falsely accuse him of bribing voters. BJP state president Bandi Sanjay Kumar was also taken into preventive custody as he staged protests against the TRS in Siddipet. Videos of the police manhandling the BJP leader went viral on social media
As the drama continued late into the night, Union Minister of State for Home Affairs G Kishan Reddy rushed to Siddipet to extend his support to Raghunandan Rao. He lashed out at the police over the 'brutal assault and unjustifiable' arrest of BJP state president Bandi Sanjay Kumar. Reddy said Union Home Minister Amit Shah had taken stock of the incident
The incidents as they unravelled in Siddipet today are unwarranted, unjustified and unpardonable in any standard.
Visited the house which was broke open illegally and spoke to Sri Raghunandan Rao garu and his family.
Also visited injured karyakartas admitted in Hospital. pic.twitter.com/NddkkYReuT
— G Kishan Reddy (@kishanreddybjp) October 26, 2020
"The ruling TRS government is acting out of frustration which is why they are using the police to intimidate us. But our Karyakartas will not cower to such tactics. BJP candidate Raghunandan Rao will win Dubbaka with a thumping majority", Reddy said.
The Dubbaka by-election was necessitated following the death of TRS MLA S Ramalinga Reddy. It has always been a stronghold of the TRS but this time around, the battle lines are deeper and sharper as all the three parties in the fray- TRS, BJP and Congress are leaving no stone unturned to woo its voters. While TRS master strategist, finance Minister Harish Rao, has been leading the campaign for Solipeta Sujatha, wife of late MLA Ramalinga Reddy, BJP has embarked on door-to-door campaigning for Raghunandan Rao. The Congress has pinned its hopes on TRS turncoat Cheruku Srinivas Reddy to bag the crucial seat for the grand old party.