A Division Bench of the Andhra Pradesh High Court, comprising acting Chief Justice Ghulam Mohammed and Justice Nooty Ramamohana Rao on Monday directed the CBI, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the Securities And Exchange Board of India (SEBI) to investigate the allegations levelled against the former Chief Minister, N. Chandrababu Naidu, and submit a report within three months in a sealed cover.
The Bench gave this direction while admitting a petition filed by Y.S. Vijayamma, MLA and wife of late Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy.
Ms. Vijayamma alleged that Mr. Naidu, with the help of Eenadu Group chairman Ch. Ramoji Rao, defrauded the State exchequer and their actions needed to be investigated.
Ms. Vijayamma charged Mr. Naidu with committing offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act, the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, the A.P. Land Grabbing Act and the Benami Transactions (prohibition) Act in his “property amassing spree.”
The Bench said: “we are of the opinion that the petitioner made out a case of misuse and/or abuse of power and also actions of indulgence by respondent No. 8 [Mr. Naidu] warranting admission of the writ petition”.
The other respondents include the Union Home Ministry, A.P. government, CBI, ED, State DGP, SEBI, N. Bhuvaneswari, N. Lokesh, Ushodaya Enterprises, Heritage Foods, Ahobala Rao, V. Nagaraja Naidu, Y. Satyanarayana Chowdary, Madhucon Industries, Maganti Rajababu alias Murali Mohan, Karnati Venkateswara Rao and C.M. Ramesh.
The Bench directed the investigating agencies to submit reports within three months so that the court could further consider the matter.
The judges directed the authorities to take into consideration the papers supplied by the petitioner that run into 2,000 pages.
In her petition, Ms. Vijayamma said Mr. Naidu, who owned agricultural land of 2 acres, declared assets to the tune of Rs.7.83 crore in 1999. Valuations mentioned in the declarations in 2004 and 2009 elections exceeded the known sources of income that were “clearly illegitimate”.
Used as conduits
Ms. Vijayamma alleged that Mr. Naidu used his mother, wife, son and others as conduits for money laundering.
He could amass assets with money received as quid pro quo for conferment of doles and largesse to individuals and entities.
Ingenuous methods were devised to ensure that the largesse ended up in the hands of those with business transactions with Mr. Naidu's family.
It may be recalled that another Division Bench had directed a criminal investigation against YSR Congress president Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy based on the material filed by Telugu Desam leaders and Minister P. Shanker Rao.
Mr. Reddy now faces an investigation by the CBI.