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Siddipet Collector resigns, likely to join TRS

Hyderabad, Nov 15 (IANS) Siddipet district Collector P. Venkatarami Reddy, who grabbed headlines for touching Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao's feet and making alleged contemptuous remarks against a court, on Monday took voluntary retirement from service.

He is likely to join the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS).

A 2007 promoted IAS officer submitted his resignation to Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar, who accepted it.

Reddy is likely to join TRS and the chief minister is likely to nominate him to the State Legislative Council.

The officer's resignation came on the day when TRS is scheduled to announce its candidates for Council polls.

Meanwhile, Venkatarami Reddy said he would join TRS after receiving an invitation from the chief minister. Stating that the TRS government is working for the welfare of people, he said he would work under the guidance of KCR.

The 1996 batch Group I officer was conferred with IAS rank in 2007. A native of Peddapalli district, he was appointed Collector of united Medak district in 2014 after formation of Telangana state. He also served as the Collector of Rajanna Sircilla district.

Reddy's remarks at a meeting with seed sellers on October 25 had triggered a row with opposition parties demanding action against him. Telangana High Court had also taken note of his remarks.

On December 2, the High Court recommended criminal contempt proceedings against Venkatarami Reddy. The court asked as to why he was behaving as if the state had included paddy in the list of narcotics drugs and psychotropic substances.

Justice T. Vinod Kumar, while directing the government not to harass paddy seed sellers, had referred the issue of contemptuous behaviour of the collector to Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma.

The court was hearing the petition filed by a farmer, who questioned the orders of the collector. During a meeting with seed sellers, the Collector had warned that their licenses would be cancelled if they sell paddy seeds and that he would not honour the court orders, even if they secure a stay.

The officials' warning came in view of the state government's advice to farmers not to grow paddy in the coming season as the Centre had refused to lift the stocks from the state.

The Collector later clarified that he never intended to speak against the honour and respect of the courts.

In June, Venkatarami Reddy had drawn the ire of many by touching the feet of Chief Minister Chandrasekhar Rao.

Reddy had touched the feet of the chief minister to seek his blessings at the inauguration of the newly-constructed collectorate at Siddipet district headquarters.