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|August 30, 1999||
CID to probe blasts in Andhra minister's house
Shireen in Hyderabad
The Andhra Pradesh government has announced an inquiry by the Criminal Investigation Department of the state police into the bomb explosion at the residence-cum-nursing home of Panchayat Raj Minister Dr Kodela Sivaprasada Rao in Narasaraopet town in Guntur district.
Tension prevailed in the coastal town yesterday when the Congress candidate for Narasaraopet assembly seat, Kasu Venkatakrishna Reddy, and his supporters staged a noisy demonstration demanding the minister's arrest for allegedly storing crude bombs for use during the election.
The Congress, Communist Party of India, CPI (Marxist) and Anna Telugu Desam Party have demanded Sivaprasada Rao's dismissal from the state Cabinet. But the minister has blamed Naxalites, saying they hurled crude bombs at his residence when he was away campaigning in Macherla town.
The Congress also urged the Election Commission to debar Sivaprasada Rao and order his detention till the election process is over.
In a complaint lodged with the commission yesterday, the Andhra Pradesh Congress Committee said bombs exploded in two rooms on the top floor of the minister's residence even as crude bombs were being made by hired bomb-makers under the supervision of the local TDP politicians.
The premises are being used as the minister's election office, camp office and local TDP office, the APCC said, and pointed out that among the four persons killed was P Satish Kumar, an independent contesting the Narasaraopet Lok Sabha seat. "Satish Kumar was a person with criminal record and, in fact, was sponsored by the minister for filing his nomination as an independent candidate," the APCC said.
The memorandum also apprised the commission of the minister's "criminal antecedents" and recalled that the Supreme Court had directed the police to keep a watch on his movements during last year's election.
In a similar complaint to Governor C Rangarajan, the APCC demanded Sivaprasada Rao's immediate dismissal from the Cabinet and his arrest and prosecution. The party also requested Dr Rangarajan to order an inquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation into the incident.
The police resorted to a baton-charge to disperse the Congress activists. The Congress workers later took out a silent rally seeking protection from the ruling TDP.
Anna-TDP assembly candidate K Venkateswarlu's supporters also organised a rasta roko (road blockade) in protest against the incident.
Additional forces were deployed in the town that is notorious for faction feuds and manufacture of crude bombs.
Forensic experts from Hyderabad and a dog squad from Vijayawada were rushed to the spot to gather clues.
The police said investigations have revealed that there were two explosions in the TDP office in the minister's residence at 2300 IST on Saturday. Four supporters of the minister were killed and two rooms on the second floor of the building were damaged.
The dead included E Raghu (30), Chowdhary Sreenu (32) and P Satish Kumar (34).
Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, who campaigned in Nellore and Chittoor districts yesterday, spoke to Sivaprasada Rao on phone.
The police have unearthed 1,400 crude bombs in the last two months during their drive against bomb-makers in Narasaraopet, Guruzala, Vinukonda and Macherla, which form part of the Narasaraopet Lok Sabha constituency.
Senior Congress politician and former chief minister N Janardhana Reddy and TDP general secretary and former MP S M Lal Jan Basha are engaged in a fierce contest in Narasaraopet. Sivaprasada Rao and Venkatakrishna Reddy are contesting the assembly election from Narasaraopet segment.
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