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|November 27, 1997||
Row over car bomb blast in AP assembly
The Andhra Pradesh assembly witnessed uproarious scenes today with Congress members stalling proceedings for 45 minutes over certain remarks made by Home Minister A Madhav Reddy against the party in connection with the November 19 car bomb blast.
During Zero Hour, Congress member Jeevan Reddy charged the government with sidetracking the investigation into the blast.
Basing the probe on ruling Telugu Desam legislator Paritala Ravi's statement, he alleged that the government had ignored Rajya Sabha member and film actor Mohan Babu's version of the incident.
Both Ravi and Mohan Babu were injured in the blast.
Reddy supported Mohan Babu's demand for a Central Bureau of Investigation probe into the blast, instead of the crime branch investigation ordered by the government.
The Congress member alleged that though Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu had told the assembly that the killers would be nabbed within 24 hours, nothing had happened even after eight days. "They took one suspect into custody and let him off, and another suspect is playing hide and seek," he added.
Intervening, the home minister alleged that the Congress was responsible for the incident and accused them of being "the murderers".
Enraged by the remark, Congress members rushed to the well of the House and argued with the chair, demanding withdrawal of the minister's remark.
Speaker Y Ramakrishnudu maintained that he had heard nothing and would verify the record to remove objectionable remarks, if any they had been made.
As agitated Congress members moved into the well of the House on three more occasions, alleging "the hand of the chief minister in the case", Legislative Affairs Minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju moved a motion to suspend all Congress members present for two days. The minister also read out the names of the Congress members.
The suspension, however, did not come through as the speaker suggested that Mohan Babu could raise the issue in the Rajya Sabha, of which he was a member.
The speaker said that, in view of the home minister's reply, Congress members should close the topic as the assembly had to discuss the drought situation in the state.
When Congress members withdrew from the well, the speaker permitted Jeevan Reddy to make a submission. Reddy said the home minister was making allegations against them, only to cover up the government's "incompetence" in nabbing the culprits.
The speaker chided the member for alleging the chief minister's hand in the incident, saying he could not make such serious allegations without notice.
Gajapati Raju criticised the Opposition for stalling the proceedings and attempting to divert the investigation into the case.
Intervening, the home minister gave details of the investigation, saying Ravi had named some people and that the crime branch had recovered explosive devices from the Bangalore residence of Suryanarayana Reddy, one of the suspects.
Mohan Babu, the minister said, had been provided 'X' category security and other states had been requested to extend the same facility to the actor.
Congress member M Kodanda Reddy, who alleged that the government was trying to mislead the investigation by not recording Mohan Babu's statement, demanded the home minister's resignation.
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