In a major blow to YSR Congress president and member of Lok Sabha YS Jaganmohan Reddy, the Andhra Pradesh high court on Wednesday ordered the Central Bureau of Investigation to conduct a thorough probe into his assets and the flow of investments to his companies.
A division bench of the high court comprising Chief Justice Nisar Ahmad Kakru and Justice Vilas Afzalpurkar issued the orders on public interest litigations alleging illegal amassing of wealth by Jaganmohan Reddy by misusing political power when his father YS Rajasekhar Reddy was the chief minister.
The bench observed that there was a prima-facie evidence to warrant a thorough probe into Jaganmohan Reddy's assets by the Central Bureau of Investigation. The court also observed that there was a need to find out the origin of the flow of investments to Jagan's companies Jagati Publications and Bharati Cements.
The court also ordered the CBI to conduct a complete investigation about alleged irregularities in the allotment of prime land in Hyderabad to Dubai based Emaar company by the Andhra Pradesh Industrial Infrastructure Corporation during the regime of YS Rajasekhar Reddy.
The court asked the CBI to register a criminal case against Emaar and launch investigations into various aspects of the land deal.
Both Emaar and the APIIC had come under flak for several irregularities in the deal including the transfer of land by Emaar to another Company MGF and dilution of the stake of the APIIC in the land development venture from 26 per cent to only 6 per cent. Emaar had also taken a loan of Rs 122 crore from Axis bank by pledging the government land.
In a strong indictment of the state government and the APIIC, the court also observed that they had silently watched even as public assets were being plundered. The court also observed that the government had failed to protect its land.
Emaar, which had entered into a MOU with the APIIC to develop a luxury township in the prime Gachi Bowli area of Hyderabad, later transferred the land to another company.
The order in Emaar case was also being seen as a setback to Jaganmohan Reddy as his father was at the helm of affairs when these alleged irregularities took place.
Jagan's aide Ambati Ram Babu was the managing director of APIIC at the time. Jagan is also facing allegations that his shell companies were the ultimate beneficiaries of land transactions in the deal.
Consequent to the orders of the high court, a case is likely to be booked against Emaar, Ambati Ram Babu and then APIIC chairman and IAS officer B P Acharya.
The high court passed the orders after several hearings on the basis of an open letter written to the court by state Textile Minister P Shankar Rao and a petition filed by Telugu Desam Party leaders.
Shankar Rao had alleged large-scale irregularities in the investments made by several companies in firms owned by Jaganmohan Reddy. He alleged that black money earned through bribes and illegal gratifications were pumped into these companies in the name of investments.
The high court had earlier ordered a preliminary investigation into Jagan's assets as well as the Emaar land deal in July. The CBI had filed its reports in both cases to the high court in sealed covers.