The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) cracked down on the businesses owned by YSR Congress president Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy and the companies that invested in his firms by conducting extensive searches in six cities across the country simultaneously on Thursday.
In one of the biggest searches of their kind in Andhra Pradesh, as many as 28 companies, including Jagathi Publications which runs Sakshi daily and TV, across 22 premises in Hyderabad city alone were visited by the CBI sleuths. In all, 91 premises were searched by 15 different teams in Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, and Rajkot. However, unconfirmed sources said two companies in Ranchi were also raided.
The CBI teams also searched offices of Emaar Properties which entered into an agreement with AP Industrial Infrastructure Corporation (APIIC) to develop plush villas on land acquired at Manikonda here. The residence of a senior IAS officer and former managing director of APIIC B.P. Acharya at Mahindra Hills was also searched by the investigating agency.
These searches follow Andhra Pradesh High Court's direction to the CBI to take up full-fledged investigation into the investments in the businesses of Mr. Reddy and, in another order, into alleged irregularities in allotment of land to Emaar Properties from the land bank of APIIC.
Accordingly, the agency registered a case under section 120-B of IPC (punishment for criminal conspiracy) read with sections 420 (cheating), 409 (criminal breach of trust), 477 A (falsification of accounts), and various provisions of Prevention of Corruption Act against Mr. Reddy and others on the allegation that investors put their money in his companies “at very high premiums” as a “quid pro quo” for favours doled out by his late father, Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, as Chief Minister.
Among the premises searched was the 90,000 sq. ft palatial building with 74 rooms near the Lotus Pond in the posh Jubliee Hills which is used by Mr. Reddy as his residence and business office.
Mr. Reddy's mother and Pulivendula MLA Vijayamma rushed to the house after the CBI officials landed there. The Kadapa MP himself was away on a tour in Krishna district and made virtually no mention of the CBI's action. The premises of Sakshi, Telugu daily, and Bharathi Cement owned by Mr. Reddy here, his office and residence at Yalahanka in Bangalore, where he set up offices of Carmel Asia Holdings and Sandur Power Project were also searched.
Among the prominent investors searched were Nimmagadda Prasad, founder and vice-chairman of Matrix Labs, and his entities Alpha Avenue, Alpha Villas, and Gilchrist Investments. At the administrative building of Hetero Drugs, Hetero Health Care, and Hetero Labs at Sanathnagar, the managing director Srinivas Reddy explained the position to officials.