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This is how Kodela’s furniture scam was unearthed..!

21-08-201921-08-2019 11:32:14 IST
Updated On 21-08-2019 11:38:31 ISTUpdated On 21-08-20192019-08-21T06:02:14.162Z21-08-2019 2019-08-21T06:02:04.828Z - 2019-08-21T06:08:31.928Z - 21-08-2019

This is how Kodela’s furniture scam was unearthed..!
“Never take any piece of information lightly..!” This is the thumb-rule with which investigating agencies are known to pursue their probe on a myriad of cases. As history of the past and cases of the present (like in Chidambaram’s latest troubles) show, it is often that most innocuous-looking lead that takes the investigators to a ‘goldmine of incriminating evidence’.

And this is precisely what is believed to have transpired in the furniture scandal, the ‘mother of all scams’, involving TDP strongman and former speaker of Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly Dr Kodela Sivaprasada Rao. Already in the eye of a storm due to a flood of cases against his son and daughter over alleged extortion and cheating, Kodela is back in news and in fact under the police scanner for alleged ‘stealing of the Assembly property’.

Post the decision to shift the Andhra Pradesh Assembly from Hyderabad, the furniture and computers of the Assembly were destined for Amaravati. But as it turned out, a major chunk of it did not reach the AP capital but instead landed in Narasaraopet and Sattenapalli, the known Kodela bastions in Guntur district.

Narasaraopet is a place that Kodela treats almost like his backyard while Sattenapalli is a constituency that he represented in the Assembly until he lost badly in 2019. Both these places saw the Kodela family running its fiefdom with an iron fist and even imposing the infamous ‘KST’ or the ‘Kodela Sales Tax’ in a feudal way of fleecing the people.

If the reports in a section of the media are anything to go by, the furniture scam directly involving the ‘senior Kodela’ came to the fore almost accidentally. A police team conducting raids at the automobile showroom owned by Kodela’s son Sivarama Krishna over alleged tax evasion was reported to have stumbled on this most embarrassing scam.

They were reportedly stunned to see the showroom staff brazenly using furniture and computers that was meant for the use of the state Assembly. This happened before the showroom was seized on charges of illegal sale of more than 1,000 motorbikes with the intention of evading taxes.

The news may have shocked many across the state. But Kodela’s ‘sleight of hand’ in the missing of Assembly furniture has always been in whispered talk in the corridors of power during the previous TDP government. And with Sivaprasada Rao himself holding the highest position of the state Assembly till 2019, none dared to speak out on the issue.

Now that there is a change of guard in the state and many coming out into the open claiming to be the victims at the hands of the Kodela family, the Assembly secretary seemed to have gathered courage to approach the police over the missing furniture.

Having seen the police swing into action, the former speaker is understood to have quickly sensed the danger prompting him to come up with an open confession. While admitting that he withheld a part of the Assembly furniture for his personal use, he tried to convince the world that his action was only intended at ‘protecting it’ from falling into the wrong hands in view of what he claimed a ‘lack of ample security’ in Amaravati at that time.

Kodela’s valiant attempt to wipe the muck off his face even while admitting to the folly only drew more derisive laughs. As the police are expected to pursue the case ‘aggressively’, no one understands its impending implications better than the former speaker himself.

In a bid to save his skin, Kodela Sivaprasada Rao has even offered to either return the furniture or pay the money equivalent to its value. In what appears to be a desperate pre-emptive move, he also claims to have written to the authorities concerned in this regard on July 5th itself with a bizarre rider that ‘they might not be in receipt of it’.

There are serious doubts on how far his ‘magnanimous offer’ to pay up will move the mountains under the new political dispensation, that too after the issue has gone into the police hands. On the other hand, it throws up a counter-question on why the senior politician was silent all this long and scurrying into ‘action’ only now when he seemed to have reached a dead-end on the issue.

The Kodela family is already in deep trouble due to a swarm of criminal cases against his son Sivarama Krishna and daughter Vijayalakshmi. Needless to say, the damage comes like a ‘double-whammy of sorts’. The furniture scam not only adds to the family’s woes but even ends up tarnishing the image of the highly-respected institution of Assembly speakers, which is be the most painful consequence of this ignominious episode.

-Durga Prasad Kanamaluru



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