Telugu Desam Party (TDP) leader and former Tourism Minister Bhuma Akhila Priya, BJP functionary Byreddy Rajashekar Reddy and two others have been summoned by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Andhra Pradesh police for their alleged communal comments on YSRCP’s Kurnool MLA Hafeez Khan. The YSRCP MLA had earlier filed a complaint with the police, alleging that the former Minister and several other leaders blamed him for spreading COVID-19 in Kurnool district.
Akhila Priya allegedly said that Hafeez visited a COVID-19 quarantine centre in the district and caused the virus to spread. According to reports, she recently demanded criminal cases against the persons responsible for spreading the virus in Kurnool, referring to Hafeez.
Hafeez Khan alleged that Akhila Priya made certain comments, targeting him and a specific community for spreading the virus.
After she was served the summons, Akhila Priya reportedly claimed that MLA Hafeez Khan is seeking police inquiries on the people for making comments against him but not seeking inquiry on the persons who are responsible for the spread of the virus.
BJP's Byreddy Rajashekar Reddy, too, was served a notice by the CID as he reportedly wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, alleging that "an MLA" was behind the spread of COVID-19 in the district.
In his complaint to the police, Hafeez alleged that the comments and allegations levelled against him are serious as they are "communally discriminatory" and intended to damage his image.
On Thursday, the CID police served notice to Bhuma Akhila Priya, Byreddy Rajashekar Reddy and two other leaders under section 41 (arrest without warrant) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) to appear before the investigation officer.
However, both the leaders have not responded to the notices yet.
Earlier in April, Kurnool emerged as one of the epicentres for COVID-19 in the state with rising cases. Currently, the district has 2,544 active cases against 5,5045 total cases with as many as 456 deaths while the state has reported 6,54,385 COVID-19 so far, with 69,353 active cases and 5,558 fatalities.