In a significant move forward in the probe against illegal mining by former Karnataka Tourism Minister Gali Janardhan Reddy, the Central Bureau of Investigation has started the questioning the YSR Congress President and member of Lok Sabha YS Jaganmohan Reddy on Friday.
Jagan, the son of former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy, reached the CBI office in the Kothi area around 10:30 hours amid tight security.
The police had beefed the security around the CBI office, as the YSR Congress had given a call to protest the "witch hunt" against their president. However, the police did not permit any of his supporters to gather near the probe agency's premises.
As Jagan started from his residence in Jubilee Hills, he was accompanied by several vehicles carrying the other leaders and party workers. However, all of them were stopped by the police away form the CBI office.
The CBI has summoned Jagan to record his statement in connection with the alleged illegal mining of iron ore by G Janardhan Reddy's Obulapuram Mining Company in Anantapur district. Jagan has denied his role in the scam saying that the permission for mining was granted by the Andhra Pradesh government.
The CBI is probing the alleged links between Jagan and two companies Red Gold and RR Enterprises owned by G Janardhan Reddy. It suspects that OMC had invested money in Jagan's Jagati Publications (publisher of Telugu Daily Sakshi) using the two companies as conduits.
What has caught the attention of the CBI is that the registered address of Red Gold and the RR Enterprise was same as that of the Jagati Publications. Secondly, Red Gold had an agreement with OMC under which it sold 50 per cent of the iron ore it mined in Anantapur to the firm. The CBI sources said that they had procurred other material suggesting a close business link between Jagan and G Janardhan Reddy.
The CBI had arrested G Janardhan Reddy on September 5 in connection with the irregularities in mining and exports of iron ore and he continues to be in Hyderabad jail.
The CBI is seperately investigating the alleged disproportionate assets against Jagan. It was alleged that when YS Rajasekhar Reddy was the Andhra CM, the government issued license and contracts to the companies which invested in Jagan firms. The CBI has alleged that there was a conspiracy involving Jagan and his father behind the flow of funds. The CBI is yet to question Jagan in this case.