Akhila Priya’s husband Bhargava Ram was served summons for questioning in the attempt to murder case, but he did not show up.

TDP leader AV Subba Redy and former Minister Bhuma Akhila Priya Image for representation purpose only.
news Controversy Friday, June 05, 2020 - 19:38

Twists and turns and political controversies are not new in the faction-ridden Telugu Desam Party, especially in the Rayalaseema region of Andhra Pradesh. And even as the state is battling the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s a fresh storm brewing within the party once again. This time, it’s former minister Bhuma Akhila Priya, versus her aide turned rival AV Subba Reddy, who have a longstanding love-hate relationship. The latter has now dropped a bomb shell, claiming that the former and her husband Bhargav Ram hatched a conspiracy to kill him with a contract of Rs 50 lakh – a claim that Akhila Priya has denied. 

According to AV Subba Reddy, the Kadapa police have exposed a conspiracy that was hatched to eliminate him and arrested four people. He alleged that four people including a ‘pseudo naxal' was hired to kill him and conspiracy was hatched from Hyderabad. According to Kadapa police authorities, four men were arrested for attempting to murder AV Subba Reddy in March. Speaking to TNM, Kadapa Superintendent of Police (SP) KKN Anburajan said, "We have arrested four persons for attempting murder on AV Subba Reddy. A pistol and six bullets were seized from the possession of one of the accused and they have confessed to the crime. We have summoned Bhargava Ram (Akhila Priya’s husband) under section 41 CrPC to probe the further roles." The officer refused to give further details given the case is under investigation.

Akhila Priya meanwhile has denied all allegations, and told the media that it is unfair and premature to level allegations even before the conclusion of the police investigation. "When my husband was given notices with regard to the case, we assured the officials that we will assist with the investigation, whenever and wherever required. But nowhere have the police said that I’m an accused in the case,” she said. 

“But Subba Reddy yesterday demanded that we should be arrested claiming me and my husband were A4 and A5 in the case. It is unfair for him to demand our arrest and give direction to police though the investigation has not even been completed, and there is no evidence or conclusion about our involvement in the case,” she added. 

Subba Reddy – who was once the right hand man of Akhila Priya’s father Bhuma Nagi Reddy, said, "Our two families were on good terms. In Rayalaseema and in Kurnool, everyone knew about our friendship. From there, she’s gone to the extent of commissioning someone to kill me, a contract of Rs 50 lakh. If her plan had been successful, even my family members or my daughters wouldn’t have suspected her.”

Sources told TNM that Bhargav Ram has applied for  anticipatory bail to avoid further consequences. According to the Kadapa police, a second summons is being served to Bhargav Ram on Friday.

The rivalry between Akhila Priya and Subba Reddy

With the politician openly making such a serious allegation, the focus is now on the feud between Bhuma Akhila and Subba Reddy. 

The row between the two TDP leaders started in the aftermath of Akhila’s father Bhuma Nagi Reddy's death, and Akhila’s subsequent growth in the party. She became one of the youngest Cabinet Ministers in former CM Chandrababu Naidu’s government. While Akhila Priya was made Minister of Tourism and Culture, AV Subba Reddy – who was a close aide of Nagi Reddy and was hoping to get more power within the party – was accommodated  as AP State Seed Corporation Chairman. 

As the 2019 election came closer, the feud between Akhila and Subba Reddy became bitter. AV Subba Reddy aimed for political growth while Akhila had her own priorities. In the clash of interests Subba Reddy felt sidelined. Insiders say that there were ‘invisible hands’ that played a role against Subba Reddy from gaining any powerful position.

Months before the 2019 general elections, the rift between the two leaders furthered; in one public event in Allagadda of Kurnool, Akhila Priya took potshots at her opponents outside and within the party.

Akhila warned her rivals saying, "Everyone is uniting to defeat me here in Allagadda, including those who lost in Nandyal. I am telling them to do good work and defeat me because if I get re-elected, I'm not going to spare anyone."

Later in 2019 November also she made headlines after alleging that YSRCP government was harassing her husband using the police, after he was booked by Kurnool police for criminal intimidation.

What is the fresh controversy?

While several insiders say there is much between the duo than just the political differences or the fight for the upper hand in the region, reports in the local media said that Subba Reddy allagedly has not handed over the custodianship of certain assets and properties of Nagi Reddy to his family.

However Subba Reddy ruled out the allegations of holding back the properties and said, "Nagi Reddy was not naive, he was a senior politician and was intelligent. He has four brothers. Was he mad to give all his properties to me instead of them? Even if we assume that is true, let them bring whatever evidence they have, if any. Let them settle the matter legally. Why are they plotting to kill me like this?” 

He further claimed that there were no financial disputes and it was merely Akhila Priya’s intention to act like a 'dictator' and do 'faction politics' in the region.

Akhila Priya has also said that there are no financial disputes between Subba Reddy and her family. She added that she will welcome him if he comes to Allagadda and does politics to protect the TDP cadre there. She said Subba Reddy was never active even though there were attacks on TDP activists, in contrast to his allegations of stopping his 'political growth'.

The TDP chief or party spokespersons yet to respond on the row that is snowballing within their fort.

Read: Uncomfortable with a young woman’s rise in the party, senior TDP leader switches to YSRCP