Major industries minister Kanna Lakshminarayana filed the suit in Guntur district court Oct 19 against senior leader and Guntur MP Rayapati Sambasiva Rao, seeking Rs.1 crore in damages.
"I will respond only after I receive the court notice," Rao told reporters Wednesday, after a meeting with Chief Minister K. Rosaiah on the issue. Rao had created a flutter in July by saying that Rosaiah's cabinet had "corrupt" ministers like Madhu Koda, the former Jharkhand Chief Minister accused of financial irregularities.
When pressed for names, he called Kanna the "most corrupt", alleging that the minister had amassed properties worth hundreds of crores of rupees. He also clarified that he made the allegations of corruption against only one minister and not the entire cabinet.
Rao was served a legal notice July 21, to which he did not respond, Kanna's advocate Sanjeeva Reddy said. "Instead of responding to the notice, he continued making false allegations against my client. We have now filed the defamation suit," he said.
Sambasiva Rao had also remarked last week that Rosaiah should resign if he cannot sack corrupt ministers. He later apologized to the chief minister for his remarks. Rao and Kanna, both from Guntur district, are reportedly bitter rivals, seeking to extend their influence in the region.