Hyderabad: The Andhra Pradesh police today filed a case against a Telugu news channel over a report alleging foul play by the Ambani brothers in the helicopter crash and death of former chief minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy, as his supporters staged violent protests outside Reliance outlets for the second consecutive day.
Police said it has started a probe, and was collecting evidence, including video tapes of the news footage beamed by TV5 that picked up a report from a foreign website, which said Reddy was the victim of a conspiracy allegedly hatched by the Ambani brothers, a charge strongly refuted by them.
The former chief minister's supporters staged violent protests outside Reliance outlets. Angry protesters threw stones at the outlets at Nellore and several other towns. However, a bandh called in this connection by Congress in Reddy's native Kadapa district was peaceful, they said.
The report last night triggered an attack by Reddy's supporters on business outlets of companies led by Mukesh and Anil, and the two groups separately accused each other of fuelling the allegations.
The Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries dubbed the allegations as "malicious" and "motivated", and said that it was the "dirty handiwork of our business rivals in cahoots with TV5."
The Anil Ambani-led group said, "A malicious and criminal disinformation campaign has been engaged into by our corporate rivals, leading to substantial loss and damage to our several offices and businesses of Reliance ADA Group in Andhra Pradesh yesterday evening.
The Telugu channel had aired the story last night about an alleged conspiracy behind the death of Reddy, basing its report on an unsubstantiated news piece published by a little known website, following which other news channels began broadcasting panel discussions on the issue.
Irate Congress workers then attacked stores of the corporate house in Hyderabad, Kadapa, Vijaywada, Eluru and other places across the state, police said.
Meanwhile, Reddy's son and Kadapa MP YS Jagan Mohan Reddy appealed to his supporters and Congress workers not to indulge in vandalism.
"I am shocked to learn that there could be foul play behind the death of my father," he said.
In Delhi, the Editors' Guild of India expressed concern over the "unprofessional" reporting by some television news channels.
Asking the channels to desist from "irresponsible reporting", the guild in a statement said, "Such reporting is sensational in nature, and goes against the basic ethics, standards and principles of journalism... The Editors' Guild condemns such reporting."