Hyderabad: The nearly week-long war of words between Telangana IT Minister (and Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao’s son) K.T. Rama Rao (KTR) and state Congress chief Revanth Reddy took a turn for the worse Monday, with the former filing a defamation and injunction suit against Reddy, after he alleged that KTR was a “brand ambassador” for drug addicts and dared him to undergo a narcotics test.
“Today I have invoked the legal process & filed a suit for defamation and injunction before the Hon’ble court. I am confident that the Court process will clinchingly vindicate the falsity of the canards & lies spread against me and the culprits will be brought to book appropriately,” KTR tweeted Monday.
He reiterated the same when contacted by ThePrint. “Yes, the case filed is against Revanth Reddy,” he said.
At a public meeting Friday, Reddy, alleged that CM K. Chandrashekar Rao had become a brand ambassador for alcoholics and his son KTR for film stars who are using drugs.
Reddy’s allegations came in the backdrop of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) reopening a 2017 case involving an alleged drug scandal in the Telugu film industry and began investigating related allegations of money laundering. Actors Rana Daggubati, Rakul Preet Singh, Charmy Kaur, and Ravi Teja, and director Puri Jagannadh have been questioned by the ED in the case.
While KTR is not an accused in the case and has not been questioned by the ED, Reddy has made allegations about the IT Minister’s “closeness” to the film fraternity and accused him of trying to shield them in the case.
Responding to Revanth’s comments, KTR had said Saturday that he had nothing to do with the drugs case and added that cases will be filed against anyone making derogatory comments against the Chief Minister, or the state government. If needed, even sedition charges will be brought in, he had said.
The exchange so far…
Both the leaders have also been involved in a war of words on social media platform Twitter over the past week.
While Reddy has repeatedly lashed out at the minister on social media, KTR Thursday tweeted an alleged (leaked) audio recording of Revanth Reddy calling senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor “a donkey” after the Kerala MP praised KTR following a visit to the state.
On Thursday, Reddy apologised to Tharoor on the social media platform.
I received a gracious call from @revanth_anumula to apologise for what was said. I accept his expression of regret & am happy to put this unfortunate episode behind us. We must work together to strengthen @INCIndia in Telengana & across the country. https://t.co/pwIRmxpipn
— Shashi Tharoor (@ShashiTharoor) September 16, 2021
Reddy also started something called a “WhiteChallenge” Monday, as part of which he asked the state’s political leaders to undergo a drugs test, come out clean, and spread a positive message.
“To create awareness in the youth on increasing drug menace in the country…I have started the #WhiteChallenge and KVishReddy (former MP K. Vishweshwar Reddy) has graciously accepted… Both of us will be waiting for KTR at Amaraveerula Sthupam today at 12 noon,” Reddy tweeted Monday.
KTR replied that he is ready to take the test and asked if Rahul Gandhi was ready to do the same. BJP leader Subramanian Swamy has repeatedly alleged that Gandhi consumes drugs.
KTR also dared Reddy to quit his post if the former gets a clean chit after the test.
“I am ready for any test & will travel to AIIMS Delhi if Rahul Gandhi is willing to join. It’s below my dignity to do it with Cherlapally jail alumni. If I take the test & get a clean chit, will you apologise & quit your posts? Are you ready for a lie detector test on #Note4Vote,” KTR tweeted.
The “Note4Vote” reference here is to the infamous ‘cash for vote case’ in which Revanth Reddy is named as an accused, for allegedly offering Rs 50 lakh to Anglo-Indian nominated MLA Elvish Stephenson to get him to vote for the Telugu Desam Party’s Vem Narender Reddy in the legislative council elections of 2015. Reddy had been a member of the Telugu Desam Party, led by former Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu, at the time.
Reddy responded by saying he was ready for a lie detector test, provided Chief Minister KCR comes clean on corruption allegations.
While there are no cases of corruption against the CM, Reddy has often made such allegations against him. On Friday, he had accused the CM of betraying both people of his constituency and Dalits and tribals in the state.
(Edited by Poulomi Banerjee)