It's raining conspiracy theories in Jaganmohan Reddy's office in Andhra Pradesh Assembly
CID to probe water leakage into newly constructed building.
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"Kuch to gadbad hai.'' That was pretty much Andhra Pradesh Assembly Speaker Dr Kodela Sivaprasad Rao's reaction on seeing the visuals of rain water leakage into the office of YS Jaganmohan Reddy, leader of the Opposition in Andhra Pradesh.
Convinced the pre-monsoon showers cannot leak into the Legislature Complex building with such fury, Rao has handed over the investigation into the water leakage to the CID, with sleuths from the forensic science lab also to help examine the pipe.
The CID has been given four days to finish the probe into this "piping hot case" of the "mother of all leaks".
Rao's conviction was based on the fact that no such leakage happened the last time the heavens opened up on Velagapudi in Guntur district, where Andhra's temporary Secretariat and Legislature Complex are located. So, he trudged to the terrace of the building and reportedly found that a 20mm pipe had been strategically cut to enable the rain water to leak directly into Jagan's office on the ground floor.
Elementary, My dear Watson!
Rao is a surgeon by training, but on Wednesday, he turned sleuth. Getting down on his knees, the Speaker pointed to the the four pipes that were part of the air-conditioning system. "They cut one of the smaller pipes," said Rao, showing a photograph of the cut pipe that has now been fixed.
The Speaker is not pointing a finger at anyone yet, but it is quite obvious who he would be suspecting. On Tuesday, the YSR Congress IT team had gone to town, distributing the footage of the water leaking into Jagan's room and being collected in buckets. Sweepers were trying to clean the mess by clearing the water that had flooded the office.
It was a huge embarrassment for the N Chandrababu Naidu government who has been talking about building a world-class capital in Amaravati. The Legislature Complex that was constructed in 192 days at a reported cost of Rs 180 crore, was inaugurated in March this year. Social media was full of memes and barbs that even though Naidu had spent money like water, one heavy shower had landed the complex in deep waters.
On Tuesday, Velagupudi area according to the Indian Meteorological Department received 10 mm rainfall. And it is not just Jagan's office that bore the brunt. Several files at the Legislature Secretariat on the top floor were also soaked.
Assuming that Rao's conspiracy theory has merit, it would point several fingers at the security apparatus in place in this high-security zone. Did the terrace have no CCTVs? One assumes not everyone will have access to the terrace. It would be a serious security lapse if it is so easy to access strategic points to indulge in mischief.
The CM's office is also part of this complex and has a watchtower in place to monitor any movements at all times. Did they not notice anyone?
The YSR Congress smells a rat. It asks why the opposition members were not allowed when the Roads and Buildings department officials and the Speaker inspected the terrace to unearth the cut pipe. Claiming the CID report will be dictated, it wants this soggy case of "AndhraLeaks" to be handed over to the CBI.
Along with the pipe, the YSRC wants the CBI to investigate the quality of construction, tendering process and payments involved in the Legislature Complex, alleging that the entire process is under a cloud. Proof that when it rains in Andhra, it pours a controversy.
The sabotage theory comes on the back of extremely strained relations between the ruling Telugu Desam and the opposition YSR Congress party. Jagan and Rao too do not share a good relationship, with the leader of the Opposition on several occasions accusing the Speaker of being blatantly partisan. He has his reasons, as Rao has not taken action on petitions asking him to disqualify the 21 MLAs who defected from the YSR Congress to the TDP. Four of them were even made ministers in the Naidu cabinet in April.
In four days, Andhra Pradesh will know if water found its own way or was it a man-made disaster. In a state that never sees a drought of issues over which to spar, the first showers of the monsoon season have meant there is a political storm brewing. The CID revelations will determine who will have to weather the storm — Naidu or Jagan.