Jagan Mohan Reddy may influence witnesses, says CBItext_fields
Hyderabad: The CBI has strongly opposed Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy's petition, seeking exemption from personal appearance in the court for the hearing of alleged disproportionate assets cases, saying he may influence the witnesses.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) submitted its counter to the court of Principal Special Judge for CBI cases here.
Reddy had filed a petition last month pleading for exemption from weekly hearing into the cases.
The federal agency, which had filed the cases against Reddy and several others in 2011, argued that the petition is not maintainable either in law or on facts and is liable to be dismissed.
The CBI alleged that the petitioner approached the court with "unclean hands and by suppressing material facts".
It submitted to that court that the exemption from personal appearance will give him "an unsolicited liberty to do whatever he wants and influence the witnesses behind the iron wall of political, money and muscle power".
Reddy sought exemption on various grounds including his new status as the Chief Minister, bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh and the poor financial condition of the state government.
"In all 11 charge sheets, the petitioner stands accused in his individual capacity and as representative of his privately-owned companies and therefore should attend the court as such," said the CBI.
"Any reference to the revenue and financial conditions of the government of Andhra Pradesh is only an attempt to deviate the attention of the court from the real issues and therefore cannot be given any credence," it added.
The CBI also pointed out that the Supreme Court described the offences committed by the petitioner as grave offences causing dent to the economy of the state and affecting the economy of the country.
The agency also argued that reconstitution of Andhra Pradesh and functioning of government from Amaravati do not have any bearing on the facts of the facts and gravity of offences alleged against the petitioner and other accused.
"It is submitted that it is almost six years from date of filing of last charge sheet in the case but the trial proceedings are yet to start. This is an indication that the accused has been able to procrastinate the proceedings on one pretext or other."
Reddy had pleaded that he be exempted from the weekly hearing as he has to discharge his constitutional duties as the Chief Minister.
The YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) chief has not appeared in the court since he became Chief Minister in May as he was granted exemption.
The Andhra Pradesh High Court in 2017 had rejected Reddy's plea to exempt from appearing in the special court. He had pleaded for exemption, citing his duties as a legislator and Leader of Opposition.
The high court, however, had ruled that he can apply for exemption on a week-by-week basis.
In what is called the 'quid-pro-quo' cases, Jagan Reddy was accused of getting investments into his businesses by firms and individuals in return for the shown undue favours shown to them by the government headed by his father Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy between 2004 and 2009.
However, the YSRCP leader denied all the charges and termed them as political vendetta.
The CBI arrested Jagan Reddy and sent him to jail on May 27, 2012. After 16 months in jail, he was granted bail.