AP shutdown over power rates, Sabitha to quit

P Sabitha Indra Reddy
Hyderabad, April 9: The Andhra Pradesh government is facing heat over Home Minister P Sabitha Indra Reddy and the bandh called by the opposition over increase in electricity tariff.

Normal life in Andhra Pradesh was hit today as opposition parties in the state called for a shutdown to protest the hike in electricity tariff.

The Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) suspended its bus services in most parts of the state as opposition leaders and activists stopped vehicles. Shops and business establishments also remained closed in many towns. In Hyderabad, the response was mixed.

Ten Left parties have called for the shutdown, which is being supported by the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), YSR Congress Party, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and other opposition parties.

Meanwhile, the opposition parties demanded the resignation of the home minister. TDP president N Chandrababu Naidu said the entire Kiran cabinet should be sent to jail as all the ministers had played a role in the Jagan assets case. CPI state secretary K Narayana demanded the resignation of Sabitha on moral grounds.

The home minister, who claimed that "The CBI has not stated what benefit I received by giving mining lease to somebody," has offered to resign.

Sabitha Reddy, who has been named by the CBI in the Jagan's assets case, is contemplating resigning from the Cabinet on moral grounds despite chief minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy and PCC chief Botcha Satyanarayana dissuading her.

Sabitha called on Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy at his camp office on Monday night and told him that she was innocent. She reportedly recalled how key decisions were taken by the then chief minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy relating to every ministry during his regime by bypassing the ministers concerned.

However, Kiran Reddy and Botcha Satyanarayana advised her against quitting as they will have to study the case in detail.

Case against Sabitha Reddy

Sabitha Indra Reddy and Puneet Dalmia, vice-president of Dalmia Cements, have been named as accused in a fresh chargesheet filed on Monday by the CBI probing alleged disproportionate assets of Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy.
Sabitha Reddy is the third minister to be charged by the CBI in this case.

The 62-page chargesheet is primarily against Dalmia Cements which invested more than Rs 95 crore in Bharathi Cements owned by Jagan. The investment by Dalmia is allegedly in lieu for favours granted by the Rajasekhara Reddy government.

In 2007-08, Dalmia Cement (Bharat) Ltd was granted limestone mining rights in Kadapa district. Sabitha Reddy was the minister for Mines in the first Cabinet of YSR and the mining leases were given during her tenure and she has been accused by the CBI of favouring Dalmia Cements in granting leases.

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