Hyderabad: Amid high drama, the Siddipet police on Monday seized Rs 18.67 lakh from the house of a relative of M. Raghunandan Rao, BJP candidate for the November 3 Dubbak byelection. Soon after, the candidate’s followers allegedly snatched Rs 5.87 lakh back from the police.
Tension prevailed in the town when the police conducted a search at the
residences of Raghunandan Rao, his close relative Surabhi Arjun Rao and
father-in-law Ramgopal Rao in Siddipet.
When news of the searches reached him, Raghunandan Rao, who was campaigning in Dubbak, rushed back to Siddipet with his followers. While he began arguing with Siddipet police commissioner Joel Davis, his followers
confronted the police which resulted to jostling between the BJP workers and
the police. The BJP workers prevented the police from taking the seized cash away from the house of Arjun Rao.
At one place, they overpowered the police and snatched some cash. In the scuffle, the BJP candidate fainted. Speaking after the incident, Davis, the Siddipet police commissioner, said that police had raided the house of Arjun Rao based on a credible tip off and seized Rs 18.67 lakh from there in the presence of Siddipet tahsildar and executive magistrate Vijaya Sagar.
He said that when the police were coming out from Arjun Rao’s residence. BJP
workers provoked by Raghunandan Rao entered the premises by jumping the
compound wall and snatched Rs 5.87 lakh. He said that the police search was
videographed and Arjun Rao had confessed that his brother-in-law Jitender
Rao had sent the money for Raghunandan Rao’s campaign through his driver.
The commissioner said that police had registered cases against the BJP
candidate and his followers for obstructing the police and attacking them.
He said that the executive magistrate had lodged a complaint with the police
against the BJP candidate and his followers for snatching Rs 5.87 lakh.
The tension spread to Karimnagar too when police took BJP state president
Bandi Sanjay Kumar into custody when he was when he heading towards
Siddipet. Other BJP leaders including A.P. Jitender Reddy, G. Vivek and
others reached Siddipet.
They alleged that the TRS feared defeat in the byelection and was using the
police to create panic among BJP cadres and leaders to prevent them from
Raghunandan Rao alleged that the police raided his house without issuing
notice. They did not find any money and enacted a drama of seizing cash from
the house of a close relative.
The police commissioner said that the police also searched the house of
Siddipet municipal chairman Raj Narsu following the complaint from the BJP
leaders alleging that the latter kept cash in his house to distribute to
Finance minister T. Harish Rao accused the BJP of trying to mislead the
people about the cash found in Raghunandan Rao’s relative’s house.
He alleged that the BJP was only trying to garner sympathy. He pointed out
that the party leaders could have videographed the incident instead of
snatching the seized cash from the police. He said the BJP workers behaved
like “rowdies” by snatching the cash.