An Andhra Pradesh court issued a Non-Bailable Warrant (NBW) against Sakshi Publications chairperson YS Bharati Reddy and Editorial Director (ED) K Ramachandra Murthy on Wednesday.
YS Bharati Reddy is the wife of YSRCP chief YS Jaganmohan Reddy.
The Nuzvid Second Additional Judicial First Class Magistrate (AJFCM) Court was dealing with a petition on the call money case, and issued a notice as the duo did not respond to a defamation petition, The Hindu reported.
The call money racket, which surfaced in 2015, involved several financiers who gave loans to women at high interest rates, and coerced them into handing over their houses or lands when they failed to repay the money.
According to the report, TDP Krishna district Telugu Rythu president Chalasani Anjaneyulu had filed a petition in the court in 2016, claiming that Sakshi Telugu daily published articles alleging his involvement in the call money racket, which he claimed was defamatory in nature. Following this, the court issued the warrant.
This is far from the first complaint filed against Sakshi, whose critics accuse it of being completely biased in favour of Andhra Pradesh's opposition party.
Just last month, Sakshi TV had been booked under sections of the Representation of People’s Act.
TDP leaders had lodged a complaint with Chief Electoral Officer Bhanwar Lal, alleging that Sakshi newspaper and TV channel had violated the election's model code of conduct, with its 'biased' coverage during the Nandyal bye-poll, aimed at defaming TDP and Naidu.
In March, Andhra IT Minister Nara Lokesh, who is Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu’s son, had hit out at Sakshi.
Calling Sakshi 'anti-AP' establishment, Lokesh claimed that they were spreading lies against him and said that Jagan Mohan - an accused in various cases, had no locus standi to do so.
"Sakshi is the most morally and ethically bankrupt newspaper in the country, managed as a vehicle for political gains...They sensationalise issues to show the government and state in bad light. Their hypocrisy is breath-taking...Sakshi has succeeded in diminishing none but itself by publishing and disseminating these lies. Forget political lines, if you wish to see Andhra Pradesh grow and become the best state in the country, you certainly shouldn’t be buying, reading, or visiting the website of this newspaper. Because they are anti-AP and anti-people in every word they write and publish," Lokesh wrote on Facebook.