Hyderabad: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Thursday raided the business premises of Congress party rebel and member of Parliament (MP) Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy and companies and individuals suspected of investing in them in return for political patronage during the years his late father Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy was Andhra Pradesh chief minister.
Fifteen CBI teams were deployed to search the offices of Jagan Mohan Reddy’s Jagathi Publications Pvt. Ltd and Bharathi Cement Corp. Pvt. Ltd, his residence and other premises in Hyderabad. CBI joint director V.V. Lakshmi Narayana said raids were also conducted in Bangalore, Kolkata, New Delhi and Mumbai.
“We have registered a case and we are doing our work,” Lakshmi Narayana told reporters.
Jagan Mohan Reddy, who on Wednesday started a 15-day tour of Andhra Pradesh’s Krishna district, wasn’t available for comment. He has been charged under sections of the Indian Penal Code pertaining to cheating, criminal conspiracy, criminal breach of trust and under provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act, PTI reported.
A person who answered the phone at Bharathi Cement said there was no one in the office to comment on the raid. An aide to Y.E. Prasad Reddy, finance director at Jagathi Publications, also said no one was available in the office to comment. Pharma firm Hetero Drugs Ltd, which according to local television channels was one of the companies raided, doesn’t want to comment, said A.V. Narasa Reddy, director of corp. tech. services at Hetero.
The CBI also searched the premises of Andhra Pradesh principal secretary (home) B.P. Acharya, registered a case against Dubai-based Emaar Properties PJSC and searched the premises of real estate developer Emaar MGF Land Ltd, PTI reported.
The Andhra Pradesh high court on 10 August ordered a CBI inquiry into the land allotments made to Emaar by the Rajasekhara Reddy government and dilution of the stake of Andhra Pradesh Industrial Infrastructure Corp. Ltd (APIIC) in a joint venture with Emaar for the development of a township in Hyderabad. Acharya was vice-chairman of APIIC at the time.
Santosh Singh, a spokesperson for Emaar MGF, confirmed by telephone from New Delhi that a search was conducted in the company’s Hyderabad office. The company will issue a statement later, he said.
A CBI special court in Hyderabad granted permission for the searches on Wednesday after a first information report (FIR) was filed by the agency, which was ordered by the high court to also conduct a full-scale probe of the assets of Jagan Mohan Reddy.
The MP from Kadapa has alleged that he was being harassed by political opponents after his rebellion against the Congress leadership.
“This is a conspiracy against the family of late Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy.?Congress?will have to pay a heavy price for this,” said Sobha Nagi Reddy, a Praja Rajyam Party legislator and supporter of Jagan Mohan Reddy.
The high court ordered a CBI enquiry acting on petitions by P. Shankar Rao, textiles minister in the Andhra Pradesh government, and two opposition politicians. The gist of the allegations against Jagan Mohan Reddy is that his businesses benefited from investments made by companies and individuals in return for land allotments and mining leases when his father was chief minister in 2004-09.
Rajasekhara Reddy died in a helicopter crash in September 2009. His son, sidelined by the Congress leadership, quit the ruling party, resigned his Lok Sabha seat, launched his own outfit called YSR Congress Party and fought a by-poll in May in which he was re-elected to Parliament by a landslide margin.
Jagan Mohan Reddy, 39, declared assets worth Rs 365 crore before the May election, making him one of India’s richest politicians. He had declared Rs 77 crore of assets before the 2009 elections from Kadapa.
The businessman-politician has moved the Supreme Court against the high court’s order of a CBI probe into his assets. He has also demanded that all ministers in his father’s cabinet be investigated, citing the principle of collective responsibility.
“We have already made it clear that we welcome a CBI probe even on ministers. The guilty shouldn’t be spared,” said Anam Ramanarayana Reddy, Andhra Pradesh’s minister of finance, who was also a member of Rajasekhara Reddy cabinet.