A day after the Hyderabad police registered a case under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act against Congress leader and former minister Sridhar Babu, two of his aides were arrested.
The leader and his aides were booked for allegedly planting 10kg of ganja at a local TRS leader's residence, in a bid to frame him.
Sridhar, the former Civil Supplies Minister, has been accused of attempting to frame his political opponent Kishan Reddy, who is from the TRS. Sridhar allegedly tried to connive with two others to conceal ganja in Kishanâ€™s house and get him arrested.
A leaked phone call between the accused has been submitted to the police as evidence.
Kishan Reddy is the TRS president in Mutharam mandal in Karimnagar district. According to reports, both Kishan and Sridhar Babu had differences over a few issues, for which the latter developed a grudge and tried to fix him in a criminal case.
Following the complaint from Kishan Reddy, the Chikkadpally police filed a case against Sridhar and two others, Sudharshan and Bhargav.
While his aides were arrested, the Chikadpally police said that no action has been initiated against Sridhar Babu yet.
The Times of India reported that Sudharshan hatched the plan with Bhargav, and discussed it with the Congress leader, but Bhargav developed cold feet.
"Bhargav got scared that he might land in trouble. Since Bhargav knew that Sudharshan records his phone conversations, without the latter's knowledge, he took his phone and gave it to Odedu gram sarphanch Ashok. Ashok downloaded the audio file (of a conversation between Sridhar Babu and Sudharshan) and later shared this with Kishan Reddy. Kishan then made a police complaint,'' Chikadpally Inspector M Sudharshan told TOI.
Meanwhile, the Telangana unit of the Congress came out in full support of Sridhar Babu.
Official spokesperson of the Congress Regulapati Ramya Rao dubbed the case a 'criminal conspiracy', and said that the TRS had a personal grudge against Babu, as he was fighting for oustees of the Kaleswaram Irrigation Project.
Responding to the incident, Sridhar Babu, addressing the media on Sunday, stated that it is a case of political vendetta, and accused the TRS of witch-hunting.
He also accused the KCR-led TRS government of using the law enforcement agencies to threaten the opposition, and said that thereâ€™s no substantial evidence to the claims. He termed it a â€˜mud-slingingâ€™ programme.
Sridhar Babu was a three-time MLA from Manthani constituency in Karimnagar. He won consecutively from 1999-2014.