SC seeks CBI, Andhra Pradesh CM’s responses on plea for transfer of disproportionate assets case outside Telangana

The Supreme Court on Friday sought the responses from the CBI and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy on a plea seeking transfer of the trial of a disproportionate assets (DA) case pending before a court in Hyderabad in Telangana to a court in any other state, preferably the Patiala House Courts in the national capital.

A bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and SVN Bhatti issued notice to the CBI on a transfer petition filed by disgruntled YSR Congress MP Raghu Ramakrishna Raju and asked the probe agency to explain why there was delay in completion of trial in the case.

The plea, filed through advocates Balaji Srinivasan and Rohan Dewan said, “The petitioner is a concerned citizen, serving the people as a Member of Parliament in the 17th Lok Sabha. Petitioner’s conscience is shaken by the manner in which State machinery (the Central Bureau of Investigation) is being manipulated to the point of apathy by the state machinery to suit the sitting chief minister of the state of Andhra Pradesh.”

He alleged that after having “illegally and unjustly” enriched himself and various companies floated by him to the tune of Rs 40,000 crore and necessarily having caused loss to that extent to the public exchequer, the chief minister has ensured that the criminal trial against him remains dormant and no fruitful steps are taken against him.

“Shockingly, the state machinery (represented by the respondent No.1/Central Bureau of Investigation) have been more than happy to be silent spectators to this abuse of the processes of the Courts (turning the criminal trials into “friendly matches” between accused and prosecution),” he said.

Raju’s plea said the DA case was registered in 2012 and the CBI filed 11 chargesheets in that, resulting in 11 other cases.

“The chargesheet(s) filed by the respondent no.1 / CBI are a tell-tale of the elaborate scheme orchestrated by the respondent no.2 (Jagan Mohan Reddy) and his (late) father for the benefit of the companies which were substantially owned/controlled by the respondent no.2,” the plea said.

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It added that subsequent to the filing of chargesheets, Reddy sought to distance himself from the key management posts of the companies he controlled. However, he continues to exert control and management of the said companies through a complex web of corporate veils, the petition said.

The plea said there have been hundreds of adjournments before the special court for CBI cases and their status available online depicts a “sorry state of affairs”.

Raju, in his plea further said that Reddy has been granted permanent exemption from appearance during the trial, further preventing any “fruitful proceedings” from taking place.

“There are no signs shown by the respondent no.1/CBI which would show diligence in prosecuting the accused persons. The CBI has not challenged the order of the high court granting permanent exemption to the respondent no.2,” the plea said, adding the chief minister seems to have been given a free hand at simply having the trials in different cases adjourned at his instance, without any opposition by the CBI.

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