Leader of Opposition in Andhra Pradesh Legislative Council and senior YSR Congress party leader Ummareddy Venkateswarlu lambasted AP Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu for issuing a GO withdrawing official consent to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to carry out any probe in the State. He recalled that on August 3, 2018, the Government of Andhra Pradesh had issued GO. 109 in which, it had given general permission to CBI for probing any issue in AP, as is the norm. From the time that the CBI was set up, this regulatory mechanism was in place, he said, stating that the State government concerned should lend its consent to any investigation.
Ummareddy Venkateswarlu reminded Chandrababu Naidu that in the period between 1995 and 2018, the TDP supremo had been Chief Minister for 13 years, while other leaders were at the helm of affairs for the remaining 10. But, no one in all these years had taken the extraordinary step of 'banning' the CBI and this applied to the Chief Ministers of both the Congress as well as the TDP. The senior YSRCP leader questioned Chandrababu Naidu as to where this desperate need to obstruct CBI investigation arose from.
The general perception is that such decisions are based either on the welfare of the people of Andhra Pradesh or the selfish interests of a few individuals. The Andhra Pradesh government needs to clarify as to why such a GO had to be issued in the first place. It should state how the interests of people of AP would be affected by a CBI probe into specific matters citing such instances clearly and then explain the reasons why a CBI probe was not needed. The broad view expressed by people at large was that this extraordinary decision was taken not in the interests of the people but to shield a select few from any CBI inquiry.
Why was the earlier GO of August this year withdrawn and a fresh GO issued? How would the people of Andhra Pradesh stand to gain from such a decision? Ummareddy Venkateswarlu posed these questions to Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu. He recalled that some time ago, Income Tax raids were carried out on the houses and offices of certain individuals and at that time AP Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu, to everyone's surprise, said that the government would not provide security to Income Tax officials in AP. Seen in the light of this earlier statement made by him, the latest GO denying consent to any CBI probe assumes special significance, the senior YSRCP leader said. Importantly, common citizens were not affected in any way by IT raids. It was only those who had black money who were hurt by Income Tax raids, he pointed out. This was also true of CBI investigation and people were aware of this, he said.
Ummareddy Venkateswarlu pointed out that the timing of the GO was equally pertinent because it was issued at a time when the High Court could issue an order directing a CBI inquiry into the murder attempt on Leader of Opposition in Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly YS Jagan Mohan Reddy. There was every possibility that all aspects of the case including Operation Garuda would be fully investigated if such a final order were to be issued by the Court. It was at such a critical time that Chandrababu Naidu seemed to have acted out of panic and desperation in issuing such a GO, he said.
The senior YSRCP leader wondered whether no probe by a Central investigative agency could take place in AP? Who will probe irregularities, frauds and scams in banks functioning in AP, since they are Central government establishments, he asked. It was only recently that AP Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu made all out attempts to cobble a national coalition saying that Constitutional bodies need to be protected. His current alliance partner, Congress has been demanding CBI probe into the Rafale jet deal. What does Chandrababu Naidu have to say on this? How can somebody like Chandrababu Naidu protect the Constitutional framework when he is making every effort to obstruct probes by higher institutions and thereby derail Constitutional bodies?