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|September 30, 1999||
HC asks CBI to probe Narasaraopet blast
Shireen in Hyderabad
The Andhra Pradesh high court on Wednesday asked the Central Bureau of Investigation to probe the bomb explosion that occurred at the residence-cum-nursing home of state Panchayat Raj Minister Dr Kodela Sivaprasada Rao at Narasaraopet town in Guntur district on August 28. The explosion had claimed four lives.
A division bench of the high court comprising Justices B Subhashan Reddy and V Eshwaraiah directed the state police to hand over the case to the Central Bureau of Investigation on the ground that the local investigating agency (Criminal Investigation Department) was complacent.
The court pronounced its orders on a writ petition filed by Kasu Venkata Krishna Reddy, Congress candidate from Narasaraopet assembly constituency.
The bench directed the CBI to probe into all facets of the case.
Stating that there were strong grounds for entrusting the case to the CBI, the bench found that no witnesses were examined on the night of the incident or on the following day. The bench also noted that the minister was not examined as a witness nor was Dr Atchuta Babu, who claimed to be the one running the nursing home on lease, examined either on the fateful night or the next day.
While the minister's father (Kodela Sanjeevaiah) and his sons (Kodela Siva Ramakrishna and Kodela Satyanarayana) were available in the house at the time of the incident, they were not examined immediately.
While Sivaprasada Rao's father was examined only on September 10, his two sons were examined on September 14 and his wife (Kodela Sashikala) was interrogated on September 16.
Dr Kodela Sivaprasada Rao, who is seeking re-election to the state assembly from Narasaraopet, is a controversial leader. He was elected to the assembly four times (in 1983, 1985, 1989 and 1994) on the Telugu Desam Party ticket.
He has served as home minister during the tenure of N T Rama Rao in the 1980s. He was again inducted into the cabinet by NTR during his second spell in power (1994-95).
He was retained by Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu and given the panchayat raj portfolio in a reshuffle.
Narasaraopet has acquired notoriety for factional violence during elections. The major factions in the Narasaraopet Lok Sabha constituency and assembly segment are led by the 52-year-old medical doctor-turned-politician and his Congress rival Kasu Venkata Krishna Reddy, former legislator and ex-MP, who is a nephew of the Congress stalwart, late Kasu Brahmananda Reddy.
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