The TDP has demanded that a case be booked against YSRCP Minister Kodali Nani, alleging that he had organised a casino in Andhra’s Gudivada in the guise of Sankranthi celebrations.

TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu and YSRCP Minister Kodali NaniTDP chief Chandrababu Naidu and YSRCP Minister Kodali Nani
news Controversy Tuesday, January 25, 2022 - 16:17

The row between YSRCP Minister Kodali Nani and the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) over allegations that a casino was being run in Gudivada’s K Convention Centre, which the former owns, during Sankranthi has refused to die down. In the latest development, TDP leader Buddha Venkanna was arrested by the Vijayawada police on Monday, January 24 for making derogatory remarks against the Director General of Police (DGP) Gautam Sawang and Kodali Nani, who is the Andhra Pradesh Civil Supplies Minister.

Ever since visuals of the alleged casino surfaced, the TDP has demanded that a case be booked against Kodali Nani alleging that he had organised it in the guise of Sankranthi festival celebrations. While local TDP members called on the Krishna district SP seeking action against Kodali Nani and his followers, the issue snowballed with TDP leaders and Kodali Nani getting into a war of words. Last week, TDP members and Kodali Nani supporters also faced off and resorted to stone pelting in Gudivada when the TDP tried to visit the convention centre.

The Minister has continued to deny the allegations and accused Leader of Opposition Chandrababu Naidu and a section of the media of framing him. He said that he would quit politics if TDP could provide evidence to support their allegations. “TDP leaders are just looking for some cheap publicity from video clips that have nothing to do with me. I deny all their allegations. If they provide proof, I will quit politics. If it is actually proved that an alleged casino was run at any property I own, I will pour petrol and set myself on fire. I challenge TDP leaders to prove their allegations,” he had told the media.

Following this, on Monday, Buddha Venkanna, who is a former MLC, in a press meet in Vijayawada alleged that action was not being taken against Kodali as the casino was organised with the support of top police officials. Buddha threatened to kill Kodali if he dared to even touch the gate of Chandrababu Naidu's house. Buddha also reportedly said that the DGP has become ‘Director of Jagan Party’ and accused him of favouring the ruling party in the state. “There has been an exchange of Rs 200-300 crores in the casino. CM YS Jagan got his share from the same, why would you arrest Kodali Nani if at all you have a share from the same,” he alleged.

Buddha Venkanna was arrested hours after his comments and a case was registered under Sections 506 IPC (criminal intimidation), 505 (inciting a person or a community to cause any offence), 211 (making false charges) and other sections. He was released soon after on bail that very night.

On January 20, police in Andhra’s Krishna district had ordered a probe after the video clip of the alleged casino started doing the rounds. In the visuals, a person is seen dealing cards at a table while singers are seen performing and people dancing. TDP leader Varla Ramaiah wrote to the DGP claiming that hundreds of crores of rupees were exchanged during the Sankranthi festivities at the convention hall belonging to Minister Kodali Nani.

Krishna district SP Siddharth Kaushal had directed Nuzvid Deputy Superintendent of Police Srinivasulu to probe the allegations that a casino was being run. However, when contacted, the Krishna district police told TNM that they cannot speak on the matter as an inquiry is still underway.

Casinos are prohibited in Andhra Pradesh, like in many other states in India, under the Public Gambling Act of 1867.