New Delhi/Hyderabad, May 9 (IANS) YSR Congress president Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy, popularly called Jagan, will have to remain behind bars as the Supreme Court Thursday dismissed his bail petition in a case of illegal assets, saying his release could hamper the probe.
The court also directed the CBI to complete its investigations in the case in four months.
A division bench of Justice P. Sathasivam and Justice M.Y. Iqbal cancelled the bail of Jagan’s auditor Vijay Sai Reddy and directed him to surrender by June 5, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) counsel Ashok Bhan told reporters outside the court.
The judges also rejected the bail plea of accused industrialist Nimmagadda Prasad.
Terming Jagan as the main accused and beneficiary of the case, the court rejected the bail plea on the ground that being an influential politician, he may influence the witnesses and hamper the investigations, Bhan said.
“I feel excited. The rule of law has prevailed. The Supreme Court has upheld the rule of law. All rumours floated by the accused are blunted and nailed now,” Bhan said.
He said though the court gave the CBI four months to complete the probe, if necessary the agency may seek more time to complete the investigations.
During the arguments on the bail petition, the CBI submitted that it may take four to six months to complete the probe.
Bhan said three charge sheets were in the pipeline. “The CBI is doing it as expeditiously as possible,” he said.
Jagan, a Lok Sabha member from Kadapa, was arrested by the CBI May 27 last year on charges of amassing huge wealth by doling out favours to individuals and companies who invested in his business when his father Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy was chief minister of Andhra Pradesh from 2004-09. The CBI claimed that the government granted licences, leases and lands to companies on quid pro quo basis.
Bhan said the court observed that Jagan was involved in the greatest scam and enriched himself and deprived society of legitimate rights of development.
“The Supreme Court took serious view of this and observed that enriching an individual or a group of individuals is not permissible under law and he has to suffer and remain in jail for some more time,” he said.
The court also noted that there was an enormous increase in white collar crimes, which had serious repercussions on the economy.
On Vijay Sai Reddy, the court quashed the order of the Andhra Pradesh High Court which upheld the bail granted to him last year by the trial court. The apex court allowed him to attend his daughter’s marriage May 26.
The judges, initially, asked him to surrender by May 30 but on the request by his lawyer, allowed him time till June 5.
The court observed that Vijay Sai Reddy was not an ordinary chartered accountant but the main brain behind the scam.
Bhan argued that the Vijay Sai Reddy was granted bail on irrelevant considerations.
The CBI, which took up the investigations in 2011 on the orders of the high court, has so far filed five charge sheets and two supplementary charge sheets against Jagan and others.
The investigating agency is treating separately the favours doled out by the government of Jagan’s late father Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy to pharma, cement and other companies that made investments in Jagan’s business.
This is the second time that the Supreme Court has rejected Jagan’s bail petition. The first such plea was dismissed by the court October last year.
The CBI trial court and the high court dismissed Jagan’s bail petitions twice each since his arrest in May last year.
The problems for 40-year-old businessman-turned-politician began after the death of his father and then chief minister Rajasekhara Reddy, popularly known as YSR, in a helicopter crash in 2009.
Jagan quit Congress party and floated YSR Congress after the Congress leadership rejected his reported claim for the chief minister’s post following his father’s death.
It was in 2011 that the high court ordered the CBI probe into Jagan’s assets when Congress leader Shankar Rao filed a petition.
The CBI filed a case against Jagan and 72 others, including officials and businessmen, charging them with corruption, cheating and criminal conspiracy.