Hyderabad: After details of his salacious phone conversation with a woman staffer were made public, actor Balireddy Prudhvi Raj resigned as chairman of the Sri Venkateswara Bhakti Channel (SVBC) that telecasts devotional progra-mmes based on Lord Balaji. The channel belongs to the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) board.
Prudhvi Raj tendered his resignation after Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy ordered his removal. The actor was embroiled in another controversy last week when he called agitating farmers in Amaravati “paid artistes.”
On Saturday, Kandarapu Murali, a leader of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), released two audio clips in which a male voice, purported to be that of Prudhvi Raj, is indulging in sleaze talk with a woman who is believed to be an employee of the channel.
In the first audio clip, which runs for 5 minutes 11 seconds, Prudhvi Raj tells the female employee: “I wanted to hug you from behind at the office earlier. However, I couldn’t do it. I’m unable to gather some courage, as I was afraid that you might scream and raise an alarm if I did it.”
In the second audio clip which runs 17 seconds, the man says he really liked the female employee and was in love with her.
He also asks her to send good photographs. She asks him if he was drunk. He replies, “No, I’m not drinking nowadays. I’ll start drinking from March.” To this, the woman says, “Okay sir, but after hearing your voice, it’s like you had alcohol.” The man says, “I will start drinking again only in your presence. I’ll sit with you and start drinking.”
She then asks him what happened at a meeting earlier in the day. He insists she listen to him. “You are in my heart. It’s true, you are really in my heart. I am saying this from bottom of my heart.”
The woman replied, “You are saying it well. After hearing this from you, I am feeling so happy.”
The audio clips went viral on social media platforms and vernacular television channels. Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy sought a report from TTD chairman Y.V. Subba Reddy. On receiving the report, the Chief Minister is said to have directed Prudhvi Raj to resign.
Following this, Prudhvi Raj held a media conference at the Press Club on Sunday night and announced his resignation. He claimed it was not his voice in the audio clips, and said he was being targeted by Opposition parties.
He also denied the allegation of Murali that he had collected bribes from 36 persons on the pretext of giving them jobs in Sri Venkateswara channel. He also denied he was an alcoholic and said he was ready to take a medical test. Earlier in the day TTD chairman Y.V. Subba Reddy ordered the TTD’s Vigilance and Security wing to probe the issue and submit a report. He told the media no one would be spared if they damaged the reputation of the TTD....