Jana Sena Party MLA Rapaka Varaprasada Rao was arrested by authorities and later let off on Tuesday, for allegedly instigating an attack on the Malikipuram police station in Andhra Pradesh's East Godavari district. Police said that the MLA had gathered at the station along with more than 200 supporters earlier this week, on hearing rumours that a Sub-Inspector had abused him.
However, Varaprasada Rao has now been granted station bail after being arrested by the Razole police on Tuesday afternoon. Speaking to TNM, East Godavari SP Adnan Nayeem Asmi said, “The charges are actually non bailable, but there is a Supreme Court ruling which says if the charges involve less than 7 years imprisonment and the accused is cooperating with the law-enforcement agencies, we can give bail. The court would’ve done the same thing, so instead, they asked us to give station bail.”
According to Malikipuram police, SI Rama Rao had raided a guest house on Sunday where gambling activities were taking place. The SI was about to take the nine offenders into custody, when MLA Varaprasada Rao arrived to protest the arrest of one of the men, Kaligithi Kumar, claiming he was suffering from a kidney-related disease. The MLA alleged that the SI paid no heed, and went ahead with booking all nine members under the AP Gaming Act and taking them to the police station.
Malikipuram police said that after the incident, the MLA and his supporters heard a rumour that the SI had abused Varaprasada Rao. Offended by this, they arrived at the police station, and in the resulting uproar, a few supporters threw stones, breaking some of the window panes.
Cases have been registered against Varaprasada Rao and his supporters under Section 353 (Assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty) and 149 (Unlawful assembly) of the IPC.
SP Adnan Nayeem Asmi said that there are more than 200 accused persons. Although Varaprasada Rao himself didn’t throw stones, the SP said that he was the prime accused in the case, since he had assembled the people and caused the uproar.
“We had been trying to arrest him and he has cooperated. We got him to the station, took the statement, and made it clear that the bail will be cancelled if he fails to cooperate in further investigation,” SP Adnan Nayeem Asmi said.
In a statement released on Tuesday, Jana Sena Party (JSP) chief and actor-politician Pawan Kalyan said that according to information he had received from party leaders, the MLA was only trying to help an ailing person. Pawan Kalyan also reproached authorities for biased treatment, referring to the case of YSRCP MLA Sridhar Reddy allegedly abusing a journalist.
“I have been reviewing the incident from the past two days. A minor incident led to such uproar, and non-bailable cases have been booked against the MLA. At the same time, when a YCP MLA attacked a journalist and tried to kidnap him, he has been let go easily with cases filed just for appearances,” Pawan Kalyan said, asking authorities not to make mountains out of molehills.
He also directed party workers and others to deal with the incident peacefully, and said that he would go to Razole and stand by the MLA and his supporters if things were to go out of hand.
The Razole (SC) Assembly Constituency was the only seat won by the Jana Sena Party in the 2019 Andhra Pradesh Assembly elections. This was the first time that the JSP had contested elections. The party had formed an alliance with the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) along with the CPI and CPI(M).