The Hyderabad police seized cash worth Rs 1 crore on Sunday in Begumpet, and said that it was linked to BJP’s Dubbaka bye-poll candidate Raghunandan Rao, and this soon became the centre of a political controversy. On Sunday evening, on the occasion of the last day of campaigning, addressing the people, Rao hit out at the police, ‘appreciating’ them for thinking of new ways to target and book cases against him.
The BJP candidate questioned the police commissioner about why he was named in the press release. He said, “I heard about a seizure of about Rs 1 crore money in Begumpet by the Hyderabad police. I heard about this only from the media. The police commissioner released a press note which mentions Surbhi Srinivas Rao, a Managing Director (MD) of a company. Can’t two companies do business? Can’t they exchange money as part of their business? In the second paragraph, the commissioner of police has written that the accused is the own brother-in-law of Raghunandan Rao. My brother-in-law has a company which was established during his father’s time — Vishaka Industries. They’re making it sound like these companies were set up after I joined the BJP.”
“Don’t other politicians and their families have businesses? Don’t money transactions take place? I have no qualms in accepting that he is my brother-in-law. Two companies exchanged money. How can you come to your own conclusion? If GST hasn’t been filed or Income Tax has not been paid, please book a case. Just because he is my brother-in-law, how can he be targeted? The Telangana police is trying every possible way to find new ways to book cases against me” alleged Raghunandan Rao.
Earlier last week, on October 26, raids were carried out by the Siddipet police and revenue officials at three locations in Siddipet. The police claimed to have seized Rs 18.67 cash from a relative of Ragunandan Rao, and said that BJP workers later ‘looted’ a large amount of the money that was seized.
While the BJP claimed that the money was planted by the police as several videos did the rounds on social media, in a counter-move, TRS supporters began circulating videos which according to them, were made public by the Siddipet police, supporting the official version of events.
When TNM visited the poll-bound constituency, at the ground level, it seemed like the BJP’s efforts to convey to the people that their party was being targeted as the police were acting at the behest of the ruling TRS, seemed to have percolated into the minds of the people.
A woman who worked at a shop in Dubbaka expressed anguish at the way the political battle was unfolding in the election-bound constituency. She said, “What happened at the BJP candidate’s relative’s house is simply disgusting. It clearly seems to be a planned conspiracy. Is this what they (TRS) call Telangana culture?”
N Linggam, a trader at Dubbaka town felt that the Rs 18 lakh claimed to have been seized is not huge money for a politician. He said, “At any point of time, any businessman would have that kind of money. What happened that day is witch-hunting. It is quite surprising that the police did not find any money at the ruling party leaders’ homes.”
Explaining it in his own style, an elderly resident of Lachchapeta in Dubbaka held up a key in the air and said, “This key (cash) is pulled by some people (BJP), pushed by some people (police). This is the visual we saw on TV. Everybody is claiming whatever is convenient to them.”
The political campaign has ended in Dubbaka and the bye-election will be held on Tuesday. This bye-election has become a prestigious battle for political leaders across parties. All eyes are now on Dubbaka to see who will take home the coveted seat.