CM to go ahead with liquor probe
Chief minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy appears to be very determined to take the investigation into the illegal activities of the liquor syndicates to its logical end, despite pressure on him to go easy on it.
Though he transferred ACB additional director K Srinivas Reddy, who was supervising the investigation, Kiran wants the probe to continue so that the culprits could be brought to book. In fact, the chief minister wants all those involved in the illegal business be brought to book.
This means PCC president Botcha Satyanarayana may not have a complete breather from the investigation into liquor business in which he has a stake. The chief minister said on Sunday that the investigation would go on in all seriousness. When it was pointed to him that the excise revenue had gone down by Rs 2,000 crore, he shot back: “So what? Let the investigation go on. I cannot allow illegal activities.”
According to sources, ACB director-general D Boobathi Babu, who wanted to go on a long leave in protest against the transfer of his associate, has changed his mind after being assured of a free hand in the investigation. His leave application is learnt to have been spiked.
Boobathi Babu sought to go on leave since he was perturbed over the way Srinivasa Reddy was transferred out at a time when the investigation was reaching a critical stage and the ACB was preparing a report for submission to the High Court on April 16 on the status of investigation.
The chief minister, when an all-party delegation called on him a couple of days ago, did not say that he would suspend the investigation, the chief minister’s aides say. He only told them that he would not cancel the order of transfer of Srinivasa Reddy and drove home the point that there were several officers in the ACB who were known for their honesty and integrity and that they would continue the investigation.
The chief minister is understood to have been a little upset over the way he had to transfer Srinivasa Reddy. He had to give clearance for the transfer after midnight last Wednesday at the instance of the party high command, hours before he took a flight to Delhi for an audience with AICC general secretary Ghulam Nabi Azad. What appears to have hurt Kiran more than anything else is that he had to do all this himself to assuage the ruffled feelings of Botcha Satyanarayana, with whom he has a running feud.