Cong leader for legal aid to jailed former ministe



Hyderabad: Andhra Pradesh Congress chief Botsa Satyanarayana Sunday asked the government to extend legal aid to jailed former minister Mopidevi Venkatramna in YSR Congress Party leader YS Jaganmohan Reddy's illegal assets case.

A day after the government decided to pay the legal fee of five cabinet ministers facing charges of issuing controversial government orders, Satyanarayana demanded that the government also pay the legal fee of Venkatramna.

Botsa, who is the transport minister, said he would write a letter to Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy.

The government Saturday decided to pay the legal expenses of Sabita Indra Reddy, J. Geeta Reddy, Dharmana Prasada Rao and Ponnala Lakshmiah.

These ministers can engage services of top lawyers and bill the state government for it.

The government ignored Venkatramna, who was a cabinet minister when he was arrested by the CBI in May.

A total of six ministers were issued notices by the Supreme Court in March asking them why their role should not be probed in issuing the controversial government orders during YS Rajasekhara Reddy's tenure.

The orders allegedly benefited companies and individuals who made investments into the companies of Jaganmohan Reddy, the son of then chief minister Rajasekhara Reddy.

The CBI, which is probing the quid-pro-quo investments, has arrested Venkatramna and questioned home Sabita Indra Reddy, Ponnala Lakshmaiah and Dharmana Prasada Rao.

The government has also ignored eight IAS officers who were also issued notices by the Supreme Court.

Meanwhile, the opposition parties have criticized the government for its decision to reimburse the legal expenses of the five ministers.

Telugu Desam Party (TDP) leader K. Yerran Naidu alleged that the government was trying to help the ministers under a secret understanding with Jaganmohan Reddy.

"It is shameful that the government is defending the ministers who looted public money," he told reporters here Sunday.

IANS