MLAs loyal to Jagan threaten to quit

HYDERABAD — The N Kiran Kumar Reddy government in Andhra Pradesh appears to be heading towards a fresh political crisis with several legislators owing allegiance to the fledgling YSR Congress Party President Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy planning to quit in protest against the ongoing Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) raids on his properties in connection with the disproportionate assets case.

By P S Jayaram

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Published: Sat 20 Aug 2011, 11:23 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 8:28 PM

At least a dozen lawmakers from the Jagan camp met in the city on Friday to chalk out their future course of action in the wake of the CBI probe. Though Jagan is currently on a tour of the coastal district of Krishna, the MLAs held a closed-door meeting at the party president’s residence in the upmarket Banjara Hills area.

Sources told Khaleej Times that at least 20 of the 155 Congress MLAs in the State Assembly owe allegiance to Jagan. However, there may be no immediate threat to the Congress government, despite enjoying only a slender majority in the 294-member House since the ruling party had succeeded in wooing actor-turned-politician Chiranjeevi into its fold. His 18-member Praja Rajyam Party has since merged with the Congress, providing it the much needed boost.

The meeting of pro-Jagan MLAs, including former Minister P Subhashchandra Bose and K Ramakrishna, resolved to counter what it called the “smear campaign” against the Kadapa MP. They dubbed the CBI investigation as political vendetta and witch-hunting.

Several MLAs suggested that they should submit their resignations from the Assembly and seek fresh mandate on YSR Congress Party tickets. “We will leave the final decision to Jagan Mohan Reddy,” Subhashchandra Bose said. The Jagan camp is of the view that the support for them would grow from across the political spectrum once the resignations start pouring in. “It will trigger a crisis leading to the collapse of the government,” a pro-Jagan MLA said.

CBI continues searches

Meanwhile, the CBI continued with its raids targeting business entities owned by Jagan and corporate offices of companies which had invested in his firms for the second consecutive day on Friday. About 15 teams of CBI sleuths fanned out across the state and conducted raids at various locations in Hyderabad, Mahabubnagar, Nalgonda, Guntur and Khammam. In the state capital alone, simultaneous raids are on at seven locations. “The searches are continuing. We have collected documents as part of investigations. The operations will continue,” the CBI Joint Director VV Lakshmi Narayana told mediapersons.

The raids began yesterday after the CBI filed FIR against Jagan and 50 others, invoking cases of criminal conspiracy, cheating, falsification of records and corruption under different sections of the Indian Penal

Code and also Prevention of Corruption Act. This followed the state High Court’s order for a full-fledged CBI probe into the alleged illegal assets of Jagan. Among the targets of CBI searches today were Penna Cements, VANPIC, RR Globals, Aurobindo Pharma, Nimmagadda Foundation, Navbharat Ventures, Brahmani Infotech, the Special Economic Zone in Jadcherla where Aurobindo Pharma and Hetero Drugs have offices, Bayyaram iron ore mines, Bommarillu Developers and Haritha Fertilizers.

According to sources, the multi-disciplinary teams of CBI were virtually racing against time to complete the search and seizure operations and examination of the documents within three months so that they can file a charge sheet in the case within the stipulated time.

The CBI sleuths had yesterday searched as many as 91 premises of several companies in Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Rajkot that had invested in firms floated by Jagan,

considered the richest MP in the country.

The High Court had found prima facie evidence in the allegations contained in the petitions filed by Dr P Shankar Rao, a Congress MLA who has since become Minister, and some Telugu Desam leaders that

there was a quid pro quo in the form of investments made in Jagan’s firms for favours doled out by his father and former Chief Minister late Y S Rajasekhara Reddy.

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