Immediate threat to life of Chandrababu Naidu in prison, alleges TDP; YSRCP counters claim

Police prevented TDP leaders' attempt to submit a memorandum to CM Jagan and arrested Buddha Venkanna and Pilli Manikya Rao.

ByDeepika Pasham

Published Oct 13, 2023 | 4:53 PMUpdatedOct 13, 2023 | 8:43 PM

Naidu has been remanded till 23 September. (X)

The health and well-being of former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Nara Chandrababu Naidu, currently incarcerated at Rajamahendravaram Central Prison, has become the latest flashpoint between the Opposition TDP and the ruling YSRCP in the state.

TDP general secretary Nara Lokesh said there was an immediate threat to the life of party supremo and his father, Chandrababu Naidu, after his arrest in the alleged ₹370 crore skill development scam.

Party spokesperson Kommareddy Pattabhiram, too, reiterated Lokesh’s concern at an “emergency press conference” on Friday, 13 October.

In a separate but related development, TDP leaders held a meeting at the party’s central office, the NTR Bhavan, and demanded the government shift Naidu to AIIMS. Later, the leaders tried to submit a memorandum to Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy.

However, the police prevented them from meeting the chief minister and arrested leaders Buddha Venkanna and Pilli Manikya Rao after a heated exchange of words.

“There is an undeniable and immediate threat to CBN’s life. He is being deliberately harmed. His safety is unquestionably at risk,” Lokesh posted on X on Friday. He further alleged that the government of Andhra Pradesh was administrating steroids to Naidu.

The TDP scion also added that Chief Minister Jagan would be responsible “if any harm befalls him (Naidu)”.

Former chief minister Naidu was arrested in the ₹371-crore skill development scam from Nandyal on 9 September.

Related: ACB court extends Naidu’s judicial remand till 19 October

Naidu healthy, claims YSRCP

Lokesh raised concern over his father’s safety a day after a team of dermatologists from the Government General Hospital at Rajamahendravaram examined Naidu at the prison.

The doctors — Associate Professor G Suryanarayana and Assistant Professor Sunita Devi — visited him after he alerted the jail authorities of a skin problem, and the prison’s medical officer submitted a report.

After the doctors had examined Naidu, the jail authorities issued a bulletin, saying the former chief minister was in good health. “His blood pressure was 140/180, body temperature was normal, pulse at 87, SpO2 (Oxygen Saturation) was 97, heart condition was s1 and s2 (normal heart sounds), lungs were clear,” the bulletin said.

Meanwhile, YSRCP General Secretary Sajjala Ramakrishna Reddy held another press conference where he countered TDP’s claims and insisted that Naidu was in good health.

“The statements made by TDP are false. The allegations should be made with evidence to back them. The prison is not the mother-in-law’s house to have an air-conditioner. Why should Naidu have special arrangements,” he asked.

“A few media channels are telecasting news as if Naidu is severely harassed and he is on his deathbed. The TDP is a study material for being a party without any responsibility,” Sajjala added.

In a statement, the jail’s Deputy Superintendent Raj Kumar termed Naidu’s health stable and said there was no need to panic. “We are providing all the necessary medical care to Chandrababu Naidu,” he added.

Also read: Relief for Naidu, gets anticipatory bail in Angallu violence case

‘Emergency’ press conference

TDP spokesperson Kommareddy Pattabhiram held an “emergency press conference” on the deteriorating health condition of Chandrababu Naidu.

TDP spokesperson Kommareddy Pattabhiram with Chandrababu Naidu. (File photo/Facebook)

TDP spokesperson Kommareddy Pattabhiram with Chandrababu Naidu. (File photo/Facebook)

“This is an emergency press conference on the deteriorating health condition of Chandrababu Naidu at the Central Jail in Rajahmundry. There is an undeniable and immediate threat to Chandrababu Naidu’s life and he is being deliberately harmed and undoubtedly, we feel that his life is at risk,” he told reporters.

“We are saying this after looking at various things happening in the Central Jail. We all know that he is suffering from severe dehydration and a few skin conditions are also troubling him. The medical treatment being administered to him is not satisfactory,” he said.

“The TDP politicians have been raising doubts regarding the kind of conditions in the Central Jail. The prison authorities have not taken our concerns seriously. In the recent Mulakat (time allotted to meet a prisoner), the family found out that Naidu is suffering from unhygienic conditions. If the conditions prevail, they might affect his health,” he stated.

Also read: Lokesh-Shah meeting to do with Kamma votes in Telangana

‘Actual scenario is different’

Pattabhiram said the party has reservations about prison bulletin on Naidu’s health.

“The actual scenario is different. Senior leaders who went to meet Naidu are witnesses to what is happening inside the prison. So, it is a fact that Naidu is suffering,” he said.

“People all over the state and world are concerned over the safety and health of Naidu inside the prison. Any human above 70 years of age needs frequent medical check-ups. We are filing a petition in the court today asking to shift Naidu to a super specialty hospital or a government hospital with all facilities, and also allow his team of private doctors to examine him since they have been treating him for decades,” he added.

The spokesperson further asked a few questions to Jagan. He sought to know why a health assessment committee had not been formed for a former chief minister.

“Why Naidu’s personal doctors are not allowed to meet him or be included in the assessment committee? The blood pressure will not convey the health of Chandrababu Naidu.  A superficial report cannot assess his health. Was Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy treated the same way when he was in jail for months,” he asked.

Jagan had spent 16 months in the Chanchalguda Central Jail in Hyderabad in a disproportionate asset case in 2013.

Jail DIG denies TDP charge

Naidu has gained weight in jail, Deputy Inspector General (DIG) M Ravi Kiran said.

Dismissing the “baseless allegations” made by the TDP concerning the health and security of its incarcerated leader, the officer told a news conference that Naidu was being provided adequate facilities and was keeping well.

The DIG assured that there was no reason to worry about the sanitary conditions of the prison cell and his security.

Kiran presented a series of points to counter the allegations:

Medication Management: ‘Naidu brought his own medicines with him on the day he was admitted to Rajamahendravaram prison, and these medications have been closely monitored by the jail’s medical officers to ensure Naidu receives the necessary treatment.’

Health Records: According to records from the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), ‘Naidu weighed 66 kilograms when he entered the prison. Over the course of his imprisonment, his weight increased to approximately 68.7 kilograms. As of the most recent measurement, he weighed 67 kilograms, still one kilogram more than his initial weight.’

Health Monitoring: The jail authorities are taking extensive precautions regarding Naidu’s health. They conduct vital sign checks three times daily, thus dispelling rumours of significant weight loss.

Dehydration Complaint: Two days ago, Naidu complained of slight dehydration. In response, the jail authorities promptly provided him with oral rehydration solutions (ORS) and closely monitored his fluid intake to ensure he consumed sufficient amount of liquids as recommended by jail doctors.

(The report has been updated after DIG Ravi Kiran’s news conference)