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Updated: April 26, 2013 12:39 IST

Court reserves orders on Dharmana plea

LEGAL CORRESPONDENT
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Roads and Buildings Minister, Dharmana Prasada Rao addressing a press conference at Media Point in Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly premise in Hyderabad. Photo: Nagara Gopal
The Hindu Roads and Buildings Minister, Dharmana Prasada Rao addressing a press conference at Media Point in Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly premise in Hyderabad. Photo: Nagara Gopal

A Division Bench of the Andhra Pradesh High Court led by Justice B. Seshasayana Reddy on Thursday reserved its orders in the petition filed by Dharmana Prasada Rao, Minister for Roads & Buildings and an accused in the illegal assets case against Kadapa MP Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy, challenging the decision of the Principal Special Court for CBI cases on taking cognisance of charges against him.

The Minister moved the High Court after the special court agreed with the CBI argument that there was no need for prior permission of the State government to prosecute the accused Minister since he ceased to be an elected representative with the dissolution of Assembly in 2009.

Besides, he was given a different portfolio after 2009 elections. He held the Revenue portfolio during the 2004-09 period to which the assets case pertains to.

Based on the CBI argument, the special court had taken the charges against the Minister into cognisance. The Minister challenged the special court decision on the ground that the court should have heard him before taking a decision.

CBI’s contention

Counsel for CBI Ashok Bhan submitted to the High Court that as Revenue Minister Mr. Dharmana had misused his official position in the allotment of lands to VANPIC project and he was also impeding the speedy investigation in the case. His actions had resulted in huge loss to the public exchequer.

He argued that government nod for his prosecution was not required since his portfolio was changed. Dharmana’s resignation was not accepted by the government though he had put in papers, he told the court.

When others involved in the case were being prosecuted in the case, there was no need to spare Dharmana, he felt.

Appearing for Dharmana, B. Kumar, appealed that his client continued to be a Minister though his portfolio was changed and the government permission was required to prosecute him.

The judge reserved the orders after hearing both sides.

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