Cold War Continues
The cold war between Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy and Andhra Pradesh Congress Committee chief Botsa Satyanarayana continues. A recent release by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) about the liquor scam in Vizianagaram where Botsa hails from has heightened tensions between the two leaders. The ACB says that 103 of 202 liquor licence holders in Vizianagaram are actually white ration card holders. In fact, 33 of the licence holders work as petty labourers in the wine shops they are supposed to own. In other words, liquor licences which cost anywhere between Rs 45 lakh to Rs 2 crore are owned by citizens living below the poverty line. The average bid amount for a liquor licence in Vizianagarm is Rs 1 crore. The ACB is going about systematically trying to establish the politician-liquor syndicate-organised crime nexus.
As the probe continues, an inspector from Vizianagaram, M Ganesh, sent a legal notice to the ACB Additional Director K Sreenivas Reddy saying the latter was forcing him to include the names of Botsa's relatives in the scam. Reddy is heading the team probing the liquor scam.
The accusation has not really affected 1994 batch IPS officer Sreenivas Reddy who carries a blemish- less record and who is known to be scrupulously honest. It has, however, led to speculation that Botsa might be behind Ganesh's complaint. An irate Botsa is rumoured to have called the CM accusing him of masterminding ACB's selective leaks. "Why is my name being linked to this inspector's complaint? And why is it constantly cropping up in relation to the liquor scam," an angry Botsa is said to have asked the CM. While the war of words goes on, one thing's for sure. A lot more liquor will flow under the scam bridge before more names emerge.
A Season of Scams
It is a season of scams, probes and chargesheets in Andhra Pradesh. Finally, the CBI has filed the chargesheet in Jagan illegal assets case naming his as Accused no. 1. The chargesheet says that Jaganmohan Reddy prevailed upon his late father Y S Rajasekhar Reddy to allot large extents of land to companies as a quid-pro-quo for investments into entities owned by him. What is disappointing, however, is that the chargesheet which names 13 as accused, is just 68 pages long. Many in the Congress and Telugu Desam who were hoping that Jagan would be arrested soon now feel the possibility is fading. An unfazed Jagan is carrying on with his Odarpu yatra in Guntur district. Accused No. 2 in the case, Vijay Sai Reddy, Jagan's financial advisor has been cooling his heels in Chanchalguda Jail since January. Sai Reddy has proved to be a tough nut to crack and has not really given the CBI too much to work on.
CBI Joint Director V V Lakshiminarayana who is heading the investigation has been given Y category security and a bullet-proof car. He says more chargesheets will follow as the probe progresses. Incidentally, Lakshminarayana also headed the Cherukuri Azad encounter probe and gave a clean chit to the AP police.
Meanwhile in Telugu Desam
The Nandamuri clan's rumblings in the Telugu Desam have intensified. Naidu's brother-in-law and NTR’s son, Harikrishna, says that it is the Nandamuri family alone which can reinstate the TD into power. He says that it is the party leadership and not cadre which is to blame for the defeat in Telangana bypolls. While Harikrishna fired this salvo, his younger brother, actor Balakrishna says he will enter politics soon to wipe out corruption. His next movie Adhinayakudu (Leader) which will release on April 12 is said to strongly reflect his political ambitions.
So What's The Beef?
Can democracy be related to food? Quite closely if recent demands by student organisations at English and Foreign Languages University (EFLU) are anything to go by. Students at EFLU have been demanding that beef be included in the hostel menu. These groups say that beef is highly nutritious and it is a violation of human rights to be denied the same. At a seminar named Democracy and Food Culture organized by students on the campus, several speakers including Prof Kancha Ilaiah stated that beef eating is a part of Indian culture. Some speakers said that disallowing beef on educational campuses amounted to legitimising untouchability. Others quoted slokas from the Manu Smruthi to prove that Indians have always eaten beef. Arguments were made in the areas of nutrition, history, caste, democratic principles, culture to show that beef on the menu is an absolute necessity. Students at Hyderabad’s other major varsity, Osmania University, state that even if the quality of rice and dal they are served were to be improved, they would be a happier lot.
A record hundi collection of Rs 5.73 crore started off the month at the Lord Venkateswara temple in Tirumala. It is being speculated that a Rs 2 crore offering by a devotee from Delhi led to the astounding figure on April 1. The previous highest collection was Rs 4.23 crore on January 1 this year. Tirupati is certainly where it’s all happening. After Chiranjeevi’s resignation as MLA and impending bypolls, the government has cleared several new projects worth Rs 125 crore for the temple town.
Got it, Da?
The movie 3 has been overshadowed by the Kolaveri Di song. Drunk on the “rhythm correct” hit number, Telugu audiences were disappointed by the film. 3 is not your average masala potboiler which Telugu audiences love and expect. Instead, it deals with the serious issue of bi-polar disorder which the protagonist suffers from. Youngsters who expected a fun film, their opinion based hugely on the Kolaveri Di song were taken aback by the dark, Kafka-like atmosphere 3 carries. So no, a super-hit song does not make for a super-hit film. Got it da?