Parthasarathy meets CM

A day after the Special Court for Economic Offences has slapped a two months imprisonment to Andhra Pradesh Secondary Education Minister K Parthasarathy which was later suspended for one month and granted him bail yesterday for violating the provisions of Foreign Exchange Regulation Act (FERA), the beleaguered Minister today met Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy at his camp office here after the opposition parties demanded his resignation. Mr Parthasarathy briefed the Chief Minister about the FERA case against the Company of which he was the Managing director and told him that he was not guilty. According to sources, Mr Reddy was not convinced by Mr Parthasarathy’s claim and did not give him any assurance of retaining him in the cabinet. The Union Health Minister and incharge of party affairs in the state, Ghulam Nabi Azad told mediapersons in New Delhi that he has to ascertain the details of the case. “After examining the case, I will take a decision on the continuance of the Minister in the Cabinet even as he said he would speak to Chief Minister on the issue,” said Mr Azad. Speaking to mediapersons later, the minister said the question of resigning did not arise as the alleged financial irregularities had been committed much before his entry into politics. “I don’t think there is any reason for me to quit. The question of owning moral responsibility does not arise as irregularities allegedly committed by me had happened eight years before I entered public life,” Parthasarathy said. He said as the court suspended the sentence for a month and gave him permission to challenge the verdict in a higher court, he did not see any need to resign. He said he would appeal against the verdict in the higher court after consulting legal experts and prove his innocence. He said as part of the agreement with a foreign company, “I had sent some money in foreign exchange to it in Switzerland which was 15 per cent of the cost of the equipment. Subsequently, the bankers backed out and I lost the advance amount paid to the company because I could not pay the remaining 85 per cent in time. I did not make any money. In fact, I lost a lot of money,” he explained. It is learnt that Mr Reddy is understood to be contemplating seeking his resignation to avert further embarrassment to the government and the Congress whose image has taken a beating with the arrest of the then excise minister Mopidevi Venkata Ramana Rao in connection with Jagan’s assets case. According to sources the Congress state leadership has apprised the party state affairs in-charge Ghulam Nabi Azad of the conviction of Parthasarathy by the court and is awaiting the high command’s direction.