The Andhra Pradesh government has initiated legal action against former Chief Minister and chief of Telugu Desam Party (TDP) N Chandrababu Naidu for alleged defamatory statements against Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy. Legal notices were also sent to two Telugu dailies, Eenadu and Andhra Jyothi, for publishing stories that were allegedly baseless and carried the 'defamatory' statements made by Naidu.
The defamation and legal notices were issued on Friday to Chandrababu Naidu. Ch Ramoji Rao, the founder-director of Ushodaya Enterprises, which runs Eenadu, and Vemuri Radhakrishna, the chief editor of Aamoda Publications, which runs Andhra Jyoti. The legal notices demand an unconditional apology from all the three persons and seek that apologies be published in the two newspapers or face criminal prosecution.
The defamation notice is with respect to an article published on June 10 in both publications.
In the article, the former Chief Minister called into question the leasing extension given to Saraswati power in Dachepallu of Guntur district for 50 years. Naidu had accused the state government of violating leasing norms for mining firms as the firm was allegedly owned by CM Jagan.
In response, the Principal Secretary of Mines, Industries and Commerce, Gopal Krishna Dwivedi clarified that the Government Order (GO) issued granting 50 years lease to Saraswati power and Industries was in accordance with the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Act, 2015, reported Sakshi Post.
The state public prosecutor, M Srinivas, has termed these allegations as ‘scandalous and quasi defamatory.’
"The defamatory news item was published to promote selfish ends of your agenda by distorting the true facts and untruthful,” the legal notice read.
A separate legal notice was also filed by KS Rao, the commissioner and Ex-Officio Secretary to Consumer Affairs and Civil supplies Department, against Ramoji Rao, N Nageswara Rao, who is the editor of Ushodaya publications, and the former chief minister, for a news article published on June 15. In the said article, the former chief minister had accused the present Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh YS Jagan Mohan Reddy of supplying bags from his own polymer company and without a proper tender process to the department.
KS Rao, in the legal notice, has stated that all the procurement of polypropylene bags for the Public Distribution System (PDS) rice was done through e-procurement, reverse tendering process, and with “utmost transparency and that no company owned by the Chief Minister was awarded any contract.” The top brass of Eenadu has been accused of publishing “false news.”