High alert sounded in Andhra Pradesh; Vijayamma and family evicted after staging protest
Climaxing three days of suspense, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) finally arrested YSR Congress president and Kadapa MP Y. S. Jaganmohan Reddy in the disproportionate assets case on Sunday night, after police enforced tight restrictions on the movement of vehicles and people all over Andhra Pradesh.
Mr. Reddy was arrested at Dilkusha, the Government Guesthouse, at 7.20 p.m. at the end of questioning by CBI sleuths for the third day running and detained there for the night. His arrest was announced after a high alert was sounded across the State by the police to guard against possible backlash by agitated supporters of the YSR Congress Party.
Mr. Reddy (38) is the prime accused in the assets case filed by the CBI and the fifth to be arrested among 75 persons and corporates named in the First Information Report. The investigating agency has so far filed three charge-sheets against the Kadapa MP in the Special Court for CBI cases on the A.P. High Court's directions in a ‘taken up' petition filed by Congress MLA P. Shankar Rao.
The crux of these charges is that a quid pro quo existed between investors who put money into Mr. Reddy's companies, particularly Sakshi daily, in exchange for the largesse doled out by the then government headed by his father, the late Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy. Mr. Jagan was questioned for nearly 22 hours by the CBI over his role in these transactions. While Mr. Reddy's arrest was imminent, the CBI's decision to take him into custody a day before his scheduled appearance before the CBI special court on Monday raised eyebrows. Sources said top Congress leaders in Delhi were regularly monitoring the developments and had even rushed lawyers to Hyderabad to advise CBI joint director V.V. Lakshminarayana.
New twist to politics
The turn of events is sure to give a new twist to politics and make its impact felt on the June 12 by-elections to 18 Assembly and Nellore Lok Sabha constituency. The Congress has itself suffered collateral damage after the arrest of a Minister, Mopidevi Venkataramana Rao, by the CBI. Five more Ministers fear that they may encounter a similar fate as some of them have already been questioned by the CBI for their role in issuing 26 controversial Government Orders (GOs) bestowing benefits on investors.
These Ministers and eight IAS officers were served notice by the Supreme Court to justify issue of these GOs. Earlier, near curfew-like conditions were clamped by police in several towns and cities, particularly those in Mr. Reddy's native district of Kadapa. Security personnel staged flag marches, forced shopkeepers to down shutters besides asking the APSRTC to drastically curtail bus services. Mr. Reddy will be produced in the special court for CBI cases on Monday. Mr. Reddy's mother and honorary president of YSR Congress, Vijayamma, his wife Bharati, sister Sharmila, and brother-in-law Anil Kumar rushed to the guesthouse to meet him. Later, they staged a a three-hour long dharna outside the guesthouse. However, they were physically removed and bundled into a police van and taken to their residence. Terming the arrest as illegal, the YSR Congress Party has called for a State bandh on Monday. The party spokesman, P N V Prasad, maintained that the arrest was illegal since Mr. Jaganmohan Reddy had expressed his willingness to appear before the CBI on Monday also, but the CBI went ahead with the arrest “on instructions from the Congress High Command.”