New Delhi/Hyderabad: The Supreme Court on Friday refused to stall a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) inquiry into the assets of Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, a member of Parliament from Kadapa in Andhra Pradesh.
The Andhra Pradesh high court had ordered a CBI probe into Jagan Mohan Reddy’s assets on 12 July, after P. Shanker Rao, a minister in the Congress state government, alleged in two letters that Jagan Mohan Reddy’s assets were disproportionate to his income.
The court treated Rao’s letters as public interest litigations (PILs) and asked the CBI to file a report in two weeks.
Jagan Mohan Reddy, son of late Andhra Pradesh chief minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, formed the YSR Congress party after relations between him and the Congress soured after his father’s death.
YSR Congress will respect the court’s order, party member Ambati Rambabu said.
He added the Congress party and the state’s main opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) were out to destroy YSR Congress. “We want to establish the political conspiracy and bring it before the people through the courts.”
Congress Rajya Sabha member V. Hanumantha Rao said the inquiry will expose Jagan Mohan Reddy’s corrupt ways.
“If there was no illegal money involved in Y.S. Jagan’s businesses, why did he approach the Supreme Court?” said Payyavula Keshav, a TDP legislator.
Jagan Mohan Reddy’s counsel, Mukul Rohatgi, argued in the Supreme Court that this was a “political battle being fought in court”. He said the letters were written by an opponent of his client who had not provided any evidence to support his claims. “A letter was given and it was converted into a PIL. The court should verify what this man is saying. The court must prima facie satisfy itself that there is an offence causing genuine public harm,” Rohatgi said.
A bench comprising justices Dalveer Bhandari and Deepak Verma said the high court had the power to ask for an inquiry. and if there was no merit in Rao’s claims, the court could dismiss the matter.
Madabhushi Sridhar, professor at the Nalsar University of Law in Hyderabad, said it was difficult for the Supreme Court to interfere at this stage. “Generally, appellate courts do not interfere when preliminary investigation is going on.”
Sridhar said Jagan Mohan Reddy has been wrongly advised. “In fact, by rushing (to the Supreme Court), he is giving another message.”
On 20 July, PTI reported that the CBI had issued notices to 20 firms believed to have invested in entities owned by Jagan Mohan Reddy. The news agency also reported that representatives who appeared before the CBI included a senior official of Jagati Publications Ltd, which is promoted by Jagan Mohan Reddy.