The Andhra Pradesh High Court on Wednesday ordered de-freezing of the bank accounts of Jagathi Publications, which publishes Sakshi Telugu newspaper, Indira Television, promoter of Sakshi TV, and Janani Infrastructure Limited, which owns the premises used by both the media firms.
Early this month, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) froze the bank accounts of the three companies belonging to Kadapa MP YS Jagan Mohan Reddy. Its charge was that investments were made in the companies by various entrepreneurs in a quid-pro-quo gesture for the benefits extended by the MP’s father and former chief minister, YS Rajasekhara Reddy.
Last week, a special CBI court rejected the petitions filed by the three companies seeking de-freezing of the accounts. Following this, the two media firms and the infrastructure company approached the state high court.
Ordering de-freezing of the accounts on Wednesday, the high court directed the petitioners to make all payments through cheques, not to withdraw the Rs 94-crore fixed deposits of the companies in Oriental Bank of Commerce and to furnish sureties for the Rs 9 crore existing in the current accounts.
The high court had also imposed a ban on sale, transfer, lease and pledging of the companies properties. It has directed the petitioners to furnish the monthly transactions report to the CBI with a copy to it on the 10th of every month. It had posted further hearing on the matter for June 25.
The latest orders that gave relief to Jagan, as the Kadapa MP is popularly known, comes close on the heels of the high court’s earlier orders staying the state government’s orders to stop giving advertisements to Sakshi newspaper and TV channel.
The apex court in the state, however, dismissed Jagan’s petition on Wednesday seeking exemption of his personal appearance in connection with the case till June 15 as he was in the midst of an election campaign. By-elections are being held in the state on June 12 for 18 Assembly constituencies and one Parliament seat.
The CBI, which is probing the disproportionate assets case of Jagan, had also served a notice asking the latter to appear before it on May 25. Already, a CBI court had issued summons to Jagan and 12 others to appear before it on May 28.
Meanwhile, Jagan wrote a letter to the Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, alleging that the ruling Congress in the state “in collusion” with the Opposition Telugu Desam Party and the CBI has hatched a “political conspiracy” to arrest him and instigate “large-scale violence and create law and order problem in the state and throw the blame on me (Jagan)”.
“Showing the violence as an excuse, the state government has conspired to approach the governor for postponement of elections,” Jagan stated in his letter, a copy of which was released to the press. Jagan also sent a separate letter to the chief election commissioner to this effect.