Hyderabad, Sept. 23: Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy today received bail in the CBI’s illegal assets cases against him after 16 months in jail, prompting political rivals to allege a secret deal between his party and the ruling Congress.
The YSR Congress president and Kadapa MP is likely to step out of Chanchalaguda jail tomorrow.
Jagan had earlier been refused bail six times and has already been chargesheeted in 10 cases where the CBI alleges his companies received huge investments from businessmen in exchange for help from his father, then chief minister Y.S. Rajasekhar Reddy.
But last week, during the hearing of his latest application at the CBI court, the agency said it had completed investigations in the remaining eight cases against Jagan and found no evidence of “quid pro quo” investments. This paved the way for bail though, formally, the CBI opposed Jagan’s plea.
The development comes amid speculation over purported Congress overtures to Jagan’s party for a tie-up in the Seemandhra region where the ruling party is on the back foot following its nod for a Telangana state.
Telugu Desam president Chandrababu Naidu accused the CBI of watering down the remaining eight cases against Jagan and not fielding senior lawyers, and alleged “match-fixing” between the Congress and the YSR Congress.
“How can the CBI give a clean chit (in the remaining cases)? It’s the court’s job to say whether there is evidence or not,” he said.
The CBI has said it will not file chargesheets in the remaining eight cases, which involve charges of tax evasion and money-laundering, leaving the matter to the Enforcement Directorate and tax authorities.
Jagan’s wife Bharati was in the courtroom in the morning but later sat in her car outside. Witnesses said she wept when she learnt the news. Jagan’s mother Vijayamma was immersed in prayer at home.
The party office rocked with jubilation while supporters in the districts burst crackers and handed out sweets.
Jagan has to furnish two sureties of Rs 2 lakh each and guarantees from two persons, undertake not to leave Hyderabad without court permission, and hand his passport over.
With bail anticipated after the CBI’s deposition last week, there was heavy betting. When reports suggested early in the afternoon that the chances were “50-50”, the odds climbed and stood at 1-20 against, which meant those who wagered on bail at the last minute made huge gains.
Nirmala Reddy, a party supporter who had come from Rajahmundry to see Jagan get bail, said she would stay on till he walked free tomorrow.
“He is our tiger. Now the Telugu Desam and the Congress will face real fire from the YSR Congress,” she said.
Jagan had left the Congress in November 2010 after it denied him his father’s chair following his death in September 2009. The case was filed in August 2011 by a then Congress minister and Jagan was arrested on May 27 last year.
“Naidu and chief minister Kiran Reddy must be shivering after Jagan’s bail,” said YSR Congress spokesperson A. Ramababu.