In an unusual move, Andhra Pradesh DGP (Director General of Police) Gautam Sawang has served legal notices to Leader of Opposition and former Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu, apart from several other TDP leaders and media publications, and accused them of making and publishing defamatory remarks in the Mundra port heroin case. The Andhra Pradesh police have insisted that only the address of a company registered in Vijayawada was associated with the heroin consignment and that the drugs were meant to reach Delhi. However, TDP leaders have continued to allege that leaders of the ruling YSRCP were involved in the case and that Andhra Pradesh was turning into a drug mafia hub amid police indifference, prompting the DGP to send the legal notices to nearly 15 persons, seeking an unconditional apology. In response, the TDP has doubled down on its stand, calling the move politically motivated, and alleging that the DGP has done so on the behest of the ruling YSRCP.
In September, the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence had reportedly seized a heroin shipment weighing 2,988.22 kilograms at the Mundra Port in Gujarat, in the guise of talc stones. The GST number used for consignment belonging to Aashi Trading company registered in Vijayawada. Vijayawada Police Commissioner B Sreenivasulu had issued a clarification that the company was not directly involved with the import of drugs and that only the address of the firm was used for shipping purposes by miscreants. The DGP in his legal notices objected to TDP leaders, including Chandrababu Naidu, continuing to accuse the state government of being involved in the drugs case, questioning the police department and Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy for failing to take action.
Legal notices were served to several TDP leaders, including MLC Nara Lokesh and MP Kinjarapu Ram Mohan Naidu, as well as the news publications Eenadu and Andhrajyothi, for publishing articles on the accusations without verifying them. In his notices, the DGP sought an unconditional apology for making â€śfalse claimsâ€ť and â€śdefamatory remarksâ€ť against the police department, and misleading the public. The news publications were also asked for an unconditional apology and to publish it prominently, failing which the DGP would resort to legal action.
The legal notices issued by Public Prosecutor K Srinivasa Reddy reportedly said that TDP leaders, including Naidu, had made â€śuncharitableâ€ť and â€śdefamatoryâ€ť statements against the DGP, which were published in vernacular dailies with a â€śdeliberate conspiracy to defame the State of AP including the office of the DGPâ€ť.
Dismissing the legal notices, TDP National Spokesperson Kommareddy Pattabhiram told the media on Wednesday, October 13, that the move was politically motivated. â€śNot only has the police department been indifferent in the matter so far, but is now trying to intimidate us by sending notices. Did he (DGP) send notices to protect those involved in the drugs case?â€ť he asked. Calling for an investigation into the role of various YSRCP leaders in the case, including CM Jagan and his relatives, Pattabhiram said that the TDP will continue to pursue the issue. â€śDonâ€™t even dream of an apology. We will pursue the legal notice issue in the court,â€ť he said.
Earlier on Saturday, October 9, the NIA conducted searches in the Mundra port drugs case in multiple locations, including Aashi Trading companyâ€™s office in Vijayawada, where officials said they seized incriminating documents and other items.
Read: Mundra port heroin case: Only address of Vijayawada firm used, says Andhra police