Hyderabad: The legal battle began in YS Jagan Mohan Reddy case today when the first charge sheet of the CBI came up for hearing before Special Judge Nagamarutha Sharma.
Representing Jagan, Supreme Court lawyer Sushil Kumar, who is also a lawyer for former Union Minister A Raja in the 2G case, made an impassioned plea that the court should not take cognisance of the CBI charge sheet because it is incomplete and filed with mala fide intention to deny right to bail of V Vijay Sai Reddy.
Sai Reddy is a close associate of Jagan Mohan Reddy and is the only accused out of 13 listed in the charge sheet. He is under arrest. "Why the CBI has arrested only Sai Reddy? Why not others? Is it a conspiracy between father (YS Reddy) and son (Jagan Reddy)? Or is it a conspiracy between the son and government officials? This charge sheet doesn't answer any questions. I have no problem with the CBI continuing their investigations in this case, but they should not file the incomplete charge sheet and keep their investigations pending with intention to keep a person behind bars," Sushil Kumar argued, adding that the court should dismiss this chargesheet.
Sai Reddy was arrested on 2 January 2012 and he was about to complete 90 days on 1 April. Under the law, the court is bound to give bail to an accused if the investigating agency fails to file a charge sheet against him within 90 days of his arrest. Just a day before, on 31 March 2012, the CBI filed the charge sheet and plead that Sai Reddy should not be given bail.
The CBI charge sheet alleges that Sai Reddy was the front man of Jagan Mohan Reddy to strike deals and arrange quid pro quo money in the garb of investments made into Jagan’s two companies — Jagati Publications and Janani Infrastructures Pvt Ltd. Two private companies, Aurobindo Group of Companies and Hetero Group of Companies, were allotted prime SEZ land over 50 acres at the instance of former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YSR against government rules. And in return, the CBI chargesheet alleges, these companies bought shares of Jagan’s companies at inflated rates. The cost of the share was Rs 10, while they paid Rs 350 for each share and invested about Rs 19.5 crore in Jagan’s companies.
Sensing a good opportunity in arguing for Sai Reddy’s bail, Sushil Kumar said that the CBI had taken seven months to file its first chargesheet, which details out trail of only Rs 19.5 crore out of the alleged Rs 1,246 crore scam. Going by this, the CBI will take at least two years to track and file chargesheet in the entire scam. "What does the CBI want? Should Sai Reddy be behind the bars for ever?" he argued.
CBI’s Public Prosecutor B Ravinder Nath argued that the first chargesheet was only about two companies – Aurobindo and Hetero. And the CBI has completed its investigations in it. "There is not one conspiracy. There are many conspiracies, in which the end beneficiary is one individual, Jagan Mohan Reddy. Thus the first chargesheet has completed investigation in one conspiracy, in which Sai Reddy was the prime accused and is in position to influence rest of the conspiracies if he is set free on bail,’’ B Ravinder Nath stated.
Without naming Jagan, Ravinder Nath said the CBI has not arrested others so far because the CBI doesn’t fear any interference from them. Only Sai Reddy, he alleged, is in a position to influence the tide of investigations.
Besides, Ravinder Nath argued that Sai Reddy is a close associate and auditor of companies held by YSR family. He was also founder director of Jagan’s Jagati Publications. To substantiate his point of argument, Nath read out several previous judgments and even evidence available against Sai Reddy but defence lawyer Sushil Kumar strongly objected to reading out the evidence, which has no mention in the CBI charge sheet.
Judge Sharma asked the CBI to put the evidence on record, if it wants this evidence to be counted for opposing bail of Sai Reddy. Ravinder Nath said: "This evidence is contained in statements given before the magistrate under section 164. And disclosing this evidence will put several lives in danger. Our (CBI investigators) lives are at stake.’’
Special Judge Sharma rubbished this argument and said if ``this is so then you and I should retire and sit at home!’’ Special Judge Sharma made it clear that the CBI’s public prosecutor should argue only on the basis of what the CBI has stated in its chargesheet.
In the end, Special Judge Sharma asked the defence lawyer Sushil Kumar if he wanted to say anything against the arguments posed by the CBI’s public prosecutor; Sushil Kumar said: "I am done. I leave to your conscience now."
Judge Sharma listed the matter for 17 April, when he will decide whether to take cognisance of the CBI chargesheet or give bail to Sai Reddy