Terming the death of former Speaker of Andhra Pradesh, Kodela Siva Prasada Rao, who allegedly committed suicide, as "murder," Telugu Desam Party or TDP Chief N Chandrababu Naidu has demanded a CBI investigation into the circumstances leading to the incident.
Blaming the YS Jagan Mohan Reddy-led government in the state for the death of Kodela Siva Prasada Rao, Mr Naidu said, "I have seen 11 chief ministers in my career and I my self have held the post for so many years. I have never seen such a chief minister (Jaganmohan Reddy). This (alleged suicide) is nothing but murder by the government."
"The entire case has to be investigated by the CBI. Intellectuals in this country should debate on the state government's attitude," he told reporters.
Based on eye-witness accounts, Kodela Siva Prasada Rao was suspected to have committed suicide. The 72-year old leader was last month slapped with a criminal case by the Andhra Pradesh police for alleged illegal possession of furniture of the assembly.
The ruling YSR Congress in Andhra Pradesh had dubbed Kodela Siva Prasada Rao a "thief" who stole the Legislature property, a charge denied by him.
Hitting out at the Andhra Pradesh government, Mr Naidu said 19 "baseless and unfounded" cases including some related to extortion and breach of trust were foisted against the family members of the departed leader, violating Supreme Court guidelines, which mandates an inquiry before filing such cases.
According to Mr Naidu, the furniture missing case filed against the former speaker was "petty" in nature and the Guntur police booked a case under Section 409 (Criminal breach of trust by public servant).
"Kodela Siva Prasada Rao wrote two letters to the Assembly Secretary to take back the furniture he kept in his camp office in June and also in August. However, the state government chose to file a case against him," The former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister alleged.
Calling Jaganmohan Reddy's dispensation as "worse than a terrorist government" Mr Naidu said, Kodela Siva Prasada Rao who was regarded as "Palnadu Tiger" was "mentally, physically and financially harassed and intimidated", reported news agency Press Trust of India.
"Right from constable to the DGP and everybody in the government whoever filed and is dealing with these (cases against Kodela Siva Prasada Rao) became spineless," he said.
The government abetted the suicide and it is a clear case study on "vindictive politics," which people of the State should be made aware of, he said.
Meanwhile, Chandrababu Naidu paid homage to the departed leader at TDP headquarters before it was taken to Guntur in Andhra Pradesh to be kept at the party''s office for people to pay tribute.
A six-time MLA from Guntur district, Kodela Siva Prasada Rao was the Andhra assembly Speaker from 2014 to 2019.