Monday, December 31, 2007

Former Andhra Congress legislator escapes bid on life


1 January 2008

HYDERABAD — One person was killed and four people, including former Congress legislator C.K. Jayachandra Reddy alias C.K. Babu, were injured yesterday when a bomb exploded in Andhra Pradesh’s Chittoor district.

The person killed at Chittoor’s Kattamanchi area, about 600km south of here, was Babu’s guard. Babu was injured along with his associate, district youth Congress chief Siva Reddy, his driver and another guard.

Police said the bomb, planted near a drainage canal, exploded when Babu was on his way to a temple in his vehicle, which was damaged in the blast.

The injured were rushed to the Government Hospital here, where one of the guards succumbed to injuries.

While Babu and Siva Reddy are out of danger, the condition of his guard and driver is stated to be serious.

Our Hyderabad correspondent adds: This was the second time during 2007 that the controversial legislator narrowly escaped in an attack. On February, 9 last year, five gunmen had opened fire on him. Four persons including an assailant were killed during the exchange of fire.

Interestingly, it was the 18th bid on the life of Babu, who also has several criminal cases against him including a case of murder.

The Chittoor district Superintendent of Police TV Seshidhar Reddy said that one police guard Suryanarayana was killed and four others including another gunman were injured when the bomb kept under a small bridge near his home, exploded. The explosion occurred when C.K. Babu’s car was crossing the culvert.

Apart from the political and business rivalry, the police have also not ruled out the possibility of Maoists’ hand in the incident. Such is their modus operandi to plant bombs and the land mines. The blast was so powerful that the car was thrown up several metres away.

As the news of attack on Babu spread, hordes of his supporters came out on the streets shouting slogans. With tension gripping the town, people downed the shutters and roads became deserted.

Babu was suspended from the Congress party after he was arrested on charges of burning an Engineering student alive in Chittoor town in June 2003. But he rejoined the party in 2004 after the Congress returned to power as he is seen as a loyal supporter of Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy.

The victim was 22-year-old Ravishankar Chowdhry, son of the Chittoor district chief of the women’s wing of Congress party, Rajeshwari. She and C.K. Babu belonged to the rival groups in the Congress party.

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