Justice Sriramulu probe results into Babji letters may prove crucial for N.T. Rama Rao
In his quest for dramatic effect, N.T. Rama Rao may finally have gone too far. This is being revealed in an inquiry ordered by the state Government to investigate the death of Mallela Babji, a young man who had assaulted Rama Rao more than four years ago in Hyderabad. The matter took an unexpected turn when two handwritten letters discovered in Babji’s room by the police were made public last fortnight.
One of the letters said that the assault on January 9, 1984, had been stage-managed by Rama Rao to win public sympathy. The Telugu Desam chief had escaped with a two-cm-long cut on his thumb, when Babji, 22 – a self-proclaimed Rama Rao fan – had lunged at him. The attack occurred when Rama Rao was watching the first anniversary celebrations of his ministry in Hyderabad’s Lal Bahadur Stadium.
Babji stated in one of the letters that he was offered Rs.3 lakh to stage the assault. Eventually, however, he was paid only Rs.30,000. The letter also claimed that the entire plan had been drawn up by the chief minister and his son-in-law Chandrababu Naidu. Rama Rao, it said, had even cut his thumb in advance to pretend injury.
Interestingly, the letters were suppressed after they were found by the police and Vijayawada’s Executive Magistrate T.B. Banerji because of the fact that Rama Rao, Naidu and a former police intelligence chief, K. Vijayarama Rao could get involved in the messy affair. The chief minister’s assailant was found hanging from a ceiling fan on November 30 last year in room no 14 of Vijayawada’s Sri Durga Lodge.
The letters were made public on June 11 by Justice Chintala Sriramulu, 62, a former high court judge. Banerji had presented them to Sriramulu, who had been appointed by the state Government three months ago to inquire into Babji’s death.