Call money rocks Andhra assembly, legislator suspended for a year (Roundup)

Hyderabad, Dec 18 (IANS) YSR Congress legislator Roja was on Friday suspended from the Andhra Pradesh assembly for one year for her unparliamentary behaviour as the call money racket rocked the house for a second consecutive day and three more victims attempted to commit suicide.

Speaker K. Sivaprasad Rao announced her suspension after Legislative Affairs Minister Y. Ramakrishnudu moved a resolution.

Ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP) members sought Roja’s suspension alleging that she behaved in an uncivilized manner by making serious remarks and using foul language against Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu when the latter was making a statement on the call money racket.

Roja, the actress-turned-politician, was in the forefront among opposition legislators in raising slogans against Naidu.

The call money racket, which has shocked the state, generated much heat in the house for a second day. All 55 members of YSR Congress present in the house were suspended in the morning till the completion of special debate on B.R. Ambedkar.

After the debate, the opposition party returned to the house in the afternoon. Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu, who made a statement on the issue amid uproar, said the issue came to light last week in Vijayawada when a woman lodged a police complaint that a money lender sexually exploited her by offering Rs.10 lakh as loan.

She also claimed that the accused was also forcing her to meet the demand of his henchmen.

The chief minister said all seven accused were arrested and they were booked for rape among other charges. He told the house that the government will deal firmly with those involved and that there is no question of shielding anybody.

He said the government had already announced judicial probe into the call money scam.

The chief minister said following this case, many people came forward to lodge complaints against money lenders charging high interest. He said the state wide drive by police led to arrest of 188 people.

There was huge protest from YSR Congress when Naidu said 65 of those arrested belong to the opposition party and only 20 were from TDP.

Amid utter pandemonium and slogan shouting by YSR Congress members, Naidu announced that a special court would be set up in Vijayawada to expedite the cases relating to sexual harassment by money lenders.

He said a bill would be passed during the current session to curb the activities of private financiers charging high interest and exploiting the people.

Amid the din, some YSR Congress members advanced towards the chief minister, who alleged that they were trying to attack him.

The treasury and opposition benches traded serious allegations, blaming each other for the scandal. Leader of Opposition Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy hit back at Naidu terming him the main accused in the scam. He also had heated argument with the speaker, who adjourned the house for some time.

After the house re-assembled, TDP members demanded suspension of Roja. It was only after she left the house that the speaker allowed Jagan to speak.

The YSR Congress chief insisted on probe by sitting high court judge, alleging that by launching a drive against money lenders, the government was trying to shield the culprits in the sex scandal.

The debate remained inconclusive as the speaker adjourned the house till Saturday.

Meanwhile, a woman attempted suicide in Kadapa district on Friday. She alleged that the money lender was sexually harassing her to recover the loan.

The racket has so far claimed five lives. A family of four committed suicide by jumping in a lake in Chittoor district on Thursday, while a woman died of shock after money lender evicted her from her house in Kadapa district.

Unable to bear the harassment by money lenders, two others also attempted suicide in Prakasam and Chittoor districts.

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