Former Andhra speaker booked for shifting assembly furniture to residence
Former speaker of Andhra Pradesh state legislative assembly and senior Telugu Desam leader Kodela Sivaprasada Rao was on Saturday booked for allegedly diverting assembly property, including furniture and computers, for his personal use.
“At around 9 pm, we received a complaint from M Eswara Rao, an official from the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly, stating that Kodela was in possession of costly furniture including sofa sets, tables, chairs, air conditioners and computers at an automobile showroom belonging to his son K Shivaram in Guntur town,” Y Srinivasa Reddy, deputy superintendent of police of Thulluru in Amaravati, told Hindustan Times.
The Thulluru police registered a case against Kodela and his son under Sections 409 and 411 (dishonestly receiving stolen property) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
Reddy, quoting the complaint, said the Andhra Pradesh assembly was shifted to Amaravati from Hyderabad in 2017 and all the chambers and offices of the Speaker were fully furnished. Before the assembly was shifted to Amaravati, there was a lot of furniture in the state assembly in Hyderabad and also in the camp office of Kodela, who was then assembly speaker.
“While the assembly was being shifted to Amaravati, Kodela allegedly instructed his staff to divert some of the furniture and other equipment being shifted from Hyderabad to his camp office at Sattenapalli, his assembly constituency and to his house at Narasraopet. Apparently, the then assembly staff did not even mention in the records about the diversion of assembly property to Kodela’s residence,” the DSP said.
The issue came to light last week, when YSR Congress party MLA Gopireddy Srinivas Reddy lodged a complaint with the assembly secretary alleging theft of assembly property by Kodela and his son Shivaram.
On Friday, officials of the assembly, along with local revenue and police officials raided Gautam Automotives Showroom at Chuttugunta in Guntur town, belonging to Kodela’s son. During their three-hour search, the authorities recovered 32 chairs, four sofas, three tables, one coffee table and other items, including two air conditioners.
“Apparently, it was the same furniture which was earlier shifted to Kodela’s residence at Narsaraopet and camp office at Sattenalli. Though the exact value of the alleged stolen property is yet to be estimated, the assembly staff say it could be around Rs 2 crore. Some of the tables were said to be imported. Investigation is on,” the DSP said.
Following the raids by the assembly staff and the police on his son’s showroom, Kodela suffered a mild stroke and was immediately rushed to a private hospital in Guntur in the early hours of Saturday. His condition is said to be stable, according to the hospital authorities.
Interestingly, Kodela held a press conference at his Narsaraopet residence on Friday and said he had got some furniture from the state assembly to be diverted to his residence and camp office at Sattenapalli during the shifting of the assembly from Hyderabad to Amaravati.
“Since the new assembly is fully furnished, I got the furniture shifted from Hyderabad diverted to my camp office only to ensure their safety and maintenance. After the recent assembly elections, I wrote to the assembly authorities at least two times to take back the furniture from my house and camp office. I also offered to buy the furniture and remit the amount to the assembly, if they did not want to take it back,” Kodela said.