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CBI seeks 14-day custody of Jagan; peaceful bandh in Andhra

Hyderabad, May 28 (PTI) : The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Monday sought 14 days custody of YSR Congress chief Jagan Mohan Reddy, saying it needed to question him further in the disproportionate assets case.

Jagan, who was arrested on Sunday after three days of questioning, was produced before a CBI court here. Senior CBI counsel Ashok Bhan alleged that Reddy, who is Kadapa member of Parliament, “sent (bribe amount) abroad and got it reinvested in his business through hawala racket”.

“Jagan never cooperated in the investigation during the three-day questioning period in true sense,” the CBI counsel alleged.

“Jagan can no longer masquerade as a victim of CBI probe. He cannot assail CBI for being victimised. He has hoodwinked the people of a huge sum of money. We will now show the people about his swindling of money. He cannot seek public sympathy He has deprived poor people and caused them irreparable loss and in turn enriched himself by dubious mechanism by sending the funds abroad and getting the same invested in his companies,” the counsel alleged.

CBI has charged Jagan under Sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 420 (cheating), 409 (criminal breach of trust) and 477A (falsification of accounts) of the Indian Penal Code and Section 13 of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

“Investments to the tune of Rs 1234 crore have been made in his (Jagan's) companies and he himself got enriched by Rs 300 crore. There are certain traces and he did not cooperate on the same,” Bhan alleged.

“It is a white collar crime committed by 74 accused, including Jagan, and so far charge sheets have been filed against 24 accused. All the accused in custody (industrialist N Prasad, senior bureaucrat K V Brahmananda Reddy) have revealed certain glaring facts about the case and we have to confront Jagan on the information provided,” the CBI counsel claimed.

CBI has sent Letters Rogatory to Mauritius and Luxembourg to get more information as there were alleged investments to the tune of several crores in Sandur Power by Jagan. “Luxembourg-based Asian Infra is suspected owner of Sandur Power,” the agency submitted.

There are similar transactions in the “exclusive knowledge” of Jagan which will be known only after getting his custody, the CBI counsel said.

“Jagan got enriched enormously in a short span of four years after influencing his father Rajashekhar Reddy, the then Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, in getting ill gotten money into his own firms from investors who doled out favours as part of quid pro quo,” the counsel alleged.

“Some investing companies got alloted thousands of acres of agriculture land in turn of investments after Jagan influenced his father,” the agency further alleged.

Further investigations need to be carried out on the role of Jagan with regard to the influence made on his father, the agency said.

Meanwhile, the bandh call given by YSR Congress supporters to protest Jagan Reddy’s arrest evoked a mixed response in Andhra Pradesh even as police clamped prohibitory orders in the city to prevent any untoward incident.

Jagan's mother and MLA Y S Vijaya along with other members of her family, launched a fast outside their Lotus Pond residence.

Stephen Ravindra, Deputy Commissioner of Police, west zone said Vijaya did not take any permission for the dharna. Vijaya announced that she would continue her “deeksha” till Jagan was set free.

Jagan’s arrest comes just ahead of by-elections to 18 Assembly seats and one Lok Sabha seat in the state.

The YSRC governing council is holding an emergency meeting to take stock of the situation.

Former ministers Pilli Subhash Chandra Bose and Balineni Srinivasa Reddy, who were contesting the by-elections, were briefly detained as they were leading protests in their areas.

Police sources here said response to the bandh called by YSRC was partial in Andhra-Rayalaseema regions while it was negligible in Telangana.

Anticipating backlash from Jaganmohan Reddy's supporters, Andhra Pradesh Police beefed up security across the state, particularly in Hyderabad and Kadapa district.

Section 144 CrPC, which bans assembly of more than four persons, has been clamped in the city and close-circuit television cameras have been installed near Nampally criminal courts where Jagan was produced.

Hyderabad Traffic Police have also announced traffic restrictions on way leading to the Court.

Naveen Chand, joint commissioner of Police, said police has made elaborate security arrangements and no untoward incidents reported so far.

Government offices are functioning normally in the city most of the RTC busses are running on schedule, police said.