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CBI probe into Jagan wealth

Hyderabad, July 13: Andhra Pradesh High Court has asked the CBI to probe in two weeks Jaganmohan Reddy’s alleged amassing of wealth and money laundering during his father’s reign, acting on a complaint by a loyalist of chief minister Kiran Kumar Reddy.

The final decision on hearing the complaint by P. Shankar Rao, a minister in the Kiran Reddy cabinet, will be taken on the basis of the CBI report, the court said yesterday. A division bench of Chief Justice Nisar Ahmed Kakru and Justice Vilas V. Afzalpurkar asked the agency to submit its report in a sealed cover.

A spokesperson for the YSR Congress Party, floated by Jagan after he quit the Congress, dubbed the move “an act of coercion”. Sources indicated the breakaway leader would seek a Supreme Court injunction against the order.

“All these attempts are an act of coercion by the Congress to ensure Jagan tows its line,” said Ambati Rambabau, the YSR Congress spokesperson.

The high court’s directive came barely a week after 27 MLAs and two MPs of the Congress attended the first plenary of Jagan’s party on home turf Kadapa. The state Congress and the Speaker had issued notices to some of the leaders for participating in the plenary and other Jagan events earlier.

Rao, the minister, had written in January and in April this year to the high court, which treated the letters as formal complaints to order the probe. He alleged that Jagan laundered money by floating fictitious firms and routing the “black money” through outfits in Mauritius.

Rao pointed out that Jagan’s personal income was only Rs 9.19 lakh before his father Y.S.R. Reddy became chief minister but shot up to Rs 77.40 crore in 2009 and Rs 445 crore in 2011, as mentioned in his election affidavits. Jagan had also filed advance income tax of Rs 84 crore in October last year.

At the heart of the letters by Rao are claims that industrialists granted land for special economic zones (SEZs) during YSR’s regime were forced to invest to the tune of Rs 300 crore in the Jagapati Enterprises, Jagan’s company that also financed his Sakshi TV and Sakshi newspaper.

Earlier, the income tax department had asked Jagan to explain how he had acquired a stake of 90 per cent in Jagapati Enterprises worth Rs 73 crore. Later, the media company had been slapped with a tax demand of Rs 122 crore after the department detected “unaccounted funds”.

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