Andhra Pradesh

News Analysis: Apex Court order makes YSR Congress happy


Ministers and Congress in Andhra Pradesh caught in a bind

Although it has provided no relief to YSR Congress president Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy, the Supreme Court's order on Monday gladdened the hearts of his partymen as the Ministers too will have to account for the controversial decisions taken during the late Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy's regime.

All this while, the Ministers had escaped liability for these decisions. Without disowning the principle of the Cabinet's collective responsibility, they had distanced themselves from some of the YSR government's decisions that favoured industrialists and individuals. Their argument was that these decisions were taken without their knowledge. Now, they will have to spell out specifically which of the 26 deals they were kept in the dark by their Chief Minister, on the basis of minutes of Cabinet meetings and notations leading to issuance of as many GOs during 2007-09. These orders relate to allotment of lands and Special Economic Zones, grant of licences and mining leases, the value of which, according to the First Information Report (FIR) filed by the CBI, runs into thousands of crores. Jagati Publications, of which ‘Sakshi', a Telugu daily, has received investments of Rs.3,400 crore from various industrialists, the CBI informed the Special Court.

The case of Mr. Jaganmohan Reddy is that the TDP, which petitioned the A.P. High Court alleging that he had amassed wealth illegally as a quid pro quo for favours shown by his father, the late YSR, to certain industrialists, had named several respondents, including the Chief Secretary and many top bureaucrats. However, the CBI had chosen to ignore all of them and picked on Mr. Reddy, the 52 respondent in the petition, and named him as the first accused.

Neither did the government file a counter to the TDP's petition nor did the Advocate General appear in the High Court to defend the Ministers and bureaucrats, said D.A. Somayajulu, a leading member of the YSR Congress' think tank.

While the YSR Congress is chuckling over the Congress government's discomfiture, the Ministers themselves are caught in a bind on how to respond to the Apex Court's notices. If they say that the government was right in issuing the orders, then there is no illegality committed by the YSR regime and thus there was no question of Mr. Reddy receiving favours as a quid pro quo. On the other hand, if the GOs were illegal, all the Ministers will be called to account along with Mr. Reddy, of course. On the political plane, the timing of the Supreme Court's order could not have been worse for the Congress as it is gearing up to fight by-election to seven Assembly constituencies just six days from now.

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Printable version | Dec 10, 2019 3:41:11 PM |

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