Ambani brothers deny hand in YSR’s death
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Last Updated: Saturday, January 09, 2010, 00:39
Hyderabad: The Andhra Pradesh police have filed a case against a Telugu news channel over a report alleging foul play by the Ambani brothers Mukesh and Anil in the death of former chief minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy.

The police have already begun a probe and are collecting evidence, including video tapes of the news footage beamed by TV5 that alleged that the Ambani brothers were behind the helicopter crash in which Reddy was killed on September 2, last year.

The report last night triggered an attack by Reddy's supporters on business outlets of companies led by Mukesh and Anil, and the two groups separately accused each other of fuelling the allegations.

Mukesh-led Reliance Industries today denied the allegations and called them "malicious" and "motivated" and said that it was the "dirty handiwork of our business rivals in cohoots with TV5."

The Anil Ambani-led Reliance group said: "A malicious and criminal disinformation campaign has been engaged into by our corporate rivals leading to substantial loss and damage to our several offices and businesses of Reliance ADA Group in Andhra Pradesh yesterday evening.

"We are shocked to see our corporate rivals stooping down to new levels of desperation by engaging in such imaginative and baseless rumour-mongering."

According to a senior police official, a case has been registered suo-motu against the Telugu news channel TV5.

Andhra Pradesh DGP R R Girish Kumar termed the attacks on Reliance outlets as unfortunate and warned that they will deal tough with arsonists.

"We are confident that the authorities would take appropriate action against those corporate elements engaging in such criminal acts of disinformation," the Anil Ambani group said in a statement.

Jubilee Hills police said the case was registered last night on the grounds of inciting ill-feeling among a section of people under Sections 153 (A) and 505 (2) of IPC, and Section 16 of Cable Network Regulation Act.

"We are collecting the tapes of the video footage shown by the channel and same will be sent for forensic examination to AP State Forensic Laboratory," a senior police officer said.

Most of the Reliance outlets and establishments were closed today in the state capital and across the state on advice by the state police.

Chandrababu Naidu demands CBI probe TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu has demanded a CBI inquiry into the telecast of the story.

Chandrababu indirectly blamed Jaganmohan for "deliberately planting a totally speculative hypothesis", related to the September 2 helicopter crash that killed Reddy, on select Telugu television news channels and "provoking" anti-social elements to indulge in vandalism.

"The attacks on Reliance outlets, some other private and government properties last night were clearly pre-planned. A Congress MP got all this done through anti-social elements as well as YSR fans. This was apparently done to get Chief Minister K Rosaiah replaced," he told reporters here.

Chandrababu claimed that a bulk SMS was sent out to many mobile users in the state at 4.55 pm yesterday, which read: 'Y S Yuvasena calls for AP bandh on Saturday, 9th January, 2010. If you love YSR really send this SMS to all YSR fans.'

"The SMS was circulated hours before a Telugu news channel TV5 started airing the story based on an unauthenticated and baseless website story related to YSR's helicopter crash. Two other TV news channels picked up the same story immediately and in no time YSR fans went on a rampage in various parts of the state destroying properties belonging to Reliance companies," Chandrababu said.

Expedite CBI probe into copter crash: Govt

The Andhra Pradesh government today requested the Centre to expedite the CBI probe into the helicopter crash.

Chief Minister K Rosaiah spoke to Union Home Minister P Chidambaram and urged him to get the CBI investigation expedited as the delay in the process was leading to spread of various "conspiracy theories and causing unrest among people".

"We have asked the Centre to get the CBI inquiry completed speedily and the report submitted so as to clear various doubts arising in public mind," state Home Minister P Sabita Reddy told reporters after a review meeting on law and order with Rosaiah today.

Cong downplays reports

Congress today downplayed media report alleging foul play by the Ambani brothers.

"It is for the investigating agencies (to answer). We have only seen the media reports," party spokesman Shakeel Ahmed told reporters here.

He said it was a "sensitive" issue.

The Andhra Pradesh police have already filed a case against a Telugu news channel over the report and have begun a probe.


First Published: Saturday, January 09, 2010, 00:39

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