Hyderabad: In what was likely to turn into a major political storm, the Vikarabad district police on Tuesday took Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee working president and Kondangal seat candidate A. Revanth Reddy in custody.
According to a video released by his office, policemen were seen taking Reddy into custody from his home. Reddy’s family claimed that he was picked up from his house at 3 a.m.
The police took action against Reddy as the Congress leader had called for a bandh on Tuesday to reportedly disrupt caretaker chief minister and Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) supremo K. Chandrashekhar Rao’s meeting at Kodangal, slated to be held at 3 p.m.
Telengana chief electoral officer Rajat Kumar asked the state police to submit a detailed report on the issue.
In the video released by Reddy’s office, Reddy can be seen arguing with the police at his residence in Kodangal. His wife Geetha wrote a letter to the Returning Officer of the Kondangal seat, stating that Reddy had only given a call to conduct a “silent protest" against police raids at homes of his associates a few days earlier (to check for poll code violations).
Geetha alleged that the police broke open the lock on the main gate and entered their home, taking her husband into custody. “No notice was served on him either before or after his arrest, mandatory according to the law. The said detention of the police was illegal, highly objectionable and unconstitutional," stated her letter.
Prior to his detention, the police also imposed orders under section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code, prohibiting an Assembly of more than four people in an area. Reddy, who had won the Kodangal seat on a Telugu Desam Party (TDP) ticket in 2014, joined the Congress last year. A harsh critic of Rao, he is considered to be one of the Congress’s strong candidates for the upcoming 7 December polls, in which he is re-contesting from the same constituency.
“Following Mr. Revanth Reddy’s call to disrupt the meeting of TRS party, we had advised DGP (director general of police) and DEO (district election officer) Vikarabad, on 2nd December, to closely monitor the situation at Kodangal constituency and take necessary measures to ensure peaceful conduct of campaigning. A detailed report on the action taken by the police has been called for," Kumar told Mint.
When contacted, Vikarabad district superintendent Annapurna said that Reddy had been taken into preventive custody.