Former coal minister and Congress MP Dasari Narayana Rao, who faced a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) raid at his house in Hyderabad on Tuesday in connection with the coal block allocation scam, emphatically denied his involvement in it on Wednesday.
"I am not a coal tiger but a 'Bobbili Tiger'," he said in a statement released in both English and Telugu.
The reference was to the 1982 Telugu firm Bobbili Puli, starring the legendary N.T. Rama Rao, who later became chief minister of Andhra Pradesh. (Puli means tiger in Telugu.)
Narayana Rao, who has had a highly successful parallel career as a filmmaker, produced and directed the film. The film's hero, also called Bobbili Puli, was an extremely honest and courageous man.
The reference to Bobbili Puli was missing in the English version, which said all the allegations against him were baseless.
"All the events are happening in a planned manner," it added. "I am confident the truth will prevail. I thank my fans for their support. I advise them not to worry."
No one from the Telugu film industry was willing to say a word about Narayana Rao on record.
One senior member of the fraternity, who has known Narayana Rao for long, told Business Today on condition of anonymity: "Even though Narayana Rao is from the film industry, we must disassociate the two issues of politics and films. The coal scam has nothing to do with the Telugu film industry or of his role in cinema. There are agencies looking into it."
The website www.dasarinarayanarao.in describes his journey over the years in Telugu film industry where he directed about 150 films and worked in over 250 as a dialogue writer and lyricist. It says, his Bobbili Puli and Sardar Paparayudu films played an important role in NTR's political rise.