Hyderabad, May 24: The CBI today arrested an Andhra Pradesh minister in connection with the assets case against Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy, on a day a court rejected Jagan’s plea for anticipatory bail and raised the possibility of his arrest too.
Jagan, summoned for CBI questioning here tomorrow, hinted his arrest was imminent while sources suggested that more ministers might be taken into custody following today’s arrest of excise minister M.V.R. Rao.
“The Congress will arrest me but neither they nor the Telugu Desam Party will win a seat (in upcoming by-elections),” a shaken Jagan told a rally in Guntur.
After tomorrow’s questioning, Jagan has to appear before a CBI court on May 28 when he might be taken into custody. The police have clamped Section 144 in Hyderabad from this morning to May 29 to prevent violence.
The assets case against Jagan deals with accusations that industrialists were handed illegal favours by the government of his late father Y.S.R. Reddy in a quid pro quo.
Rao, charged with accepting a bribe and violating land acquisition rules as ports and infrastructure minister in 2008, is the first cabinet minister in the state to have been arrested by the CBI for alleged corruption.
Other ministers said to be under the CBI’s scanner in the case include Sabita Indra Reddy, Geeta Reddy, P. Lakshmaiah, D.P. Rao and K. Lakshminarayana. The CBI has questioned some of them and might summon them again.
Rao was arrested when he appeared for a second round of questioning this morning and remanded in jail for 15 days. Under party pressure, he had sent a resignation letter to chief minister Kiran Reddy on his way to the CBI office.
He has been charged with conspiracy, cheating, falsification of accounts and criminal breach of trust, and two sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
Rao had issued four orders in 2008 doling out huge tracts of land to industrialist Nimmagadda Prasad, the promoter for the Vanpic port-and-industrial corridor project. The CBI accuses him of having accepted a Rs 8-crore bribe.
Prasad, who is said to have invested heavily in Jagan’s media company after the land allotment, has been arrested along with two others.