The Andhra Pradesh police detained TDP MLA Gorantla Buchaiah Chowdary and former Congress MP Undavalli Arun Kumar as they headed to the Praksam Barrage in Vijayawada on Tuesday.
The duo were headed towards the barrage for an 'open debate' on alleged corruption and irregularities in irrigation projects taken up by the state.
It all began earlier this month, when Arun Kumar held a press meet and alleged large scale corruption in the Pattiseema project. Arun was with the Congress party before the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh, and is now an independent but prominent politician in the state.
He also stated that the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) had found fault with the state's approach.
"Relaxation of ceiling on tender premium and award of work at higher premium without completion of Polavaram right main canal and its distributary system resulted in avoidable additional burden of Rs 199 crore. Audit also observed avoidable extra expenditure of Rs 138.18 crore due to unwarranted change in construction methodology. Incorrect reimbursement of Labour Welfare Cess, though not required under the agreement, led to undue benefit of Rs 14.22 crore to the contractor in PLIS," the CAG had said in its report, earlier this year.
However, irked by Arun Kumar's criticism, Chowdary challenged him to participate in a debate on the Pattiseema Lift Irrigation Project on July 18 at the Prakasam Barrage.
But as they didnâ€™t have any police permission, Arun Kumar was detained first at the Prakasam Barrage, while Chowdary was detained at Gannavaram, just as he was headed to the spot with his followers.
Speaking to media persons, Arun Kumar said, "I was ready to have a discussion near the barrage, and I came here, as I accepted the challenge. However, we can discuss the issue if he comes with real farmers, not with TDP party workers."
"However, since there is no police permission and they have to maintain law and order, I will cooperate with the police," he added, as he was detained.
Meanwhile, Chowdary alleged that the corruption in the project took place during the Congress rule, claiming that they had looted Rs 12,500 crore.