After naming YSR Congress president Jaganmohan Reddy as the prime accused in the assets case, and Emaar Properties, Dubai, the prime accused in the APIIC-Emaar land agreement case, several teams of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Wednesday evening began searching various offices and premises of individuals and offices as part of its investigation into these two cases. This follows the directive of the AP High Court last week to the CBI to carry out a full-fledged investigation after the court concluded that prima facie, violations under the Prevention of Corruption Act and Prevention of Money Laundering Act as well as under various sections of the Indian Penal Code exists in the two cases.
The raids began shortly after the CBI registered two criminal cases, one on the assets of Jagan and the other on the alleged irregularities in the Emaar-APIIC deal, and joint director V V Lakshminarayana secured search and seizure warrants signed by CBI Court Special Judge Naga Maruthi Sharma in the afternoon. As per the search and seizure warrants, the premises of 91 individuals and offices have to be searched as part of the investigation into the Jagan assets case and another 91 places to be searched in the Emaar-APIIC land deal case.
The fact that the special court for CBI cases was chosen as the competent court indicated that in both the cases, the names of some public servants figure as accused. This specific court deals only with cases that fall under the Prevention of Corruption Act applicable against a public servant either in the form of an elected MP, minister or MLA, or a government servant including IAS and IPS officers.
Apart from Jagan and Emaar Properties, Dubai, those under the scanner of the CBI in these two cases include Jagathi publications, Carmel Asia Holdings, Vanpic port, Unitech, Hetero drugs, Aurobindo Pharma, India Cements, Gilchrist, Jubilee Media House, Pioneer Infra etc.
The CBI has summoned its Bangalore and Visakhapatnam officials also to assist in the search and seizure operations in view of the magnitude of the two cases. It is also taking the help of experts in banking, corporate affairs, RBI, enforcement directorate and the registrar of companies in unraveling the alleged crimes.
The high court had ordered the comprehensive probes in both the cases following petitions filed by Congress leader P Shankar Rao and TDP leader K Yerrannaidu.
It upheld the charges of the petitioners that there was financial `misdeeds’ involving huge government largesse and corporate dealings including huge investments as part of the quid pro quo arrangement for the largesse and benefit received by the investors from the state government.
The court held that from May 2004 till the death of former chief minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy in September 2009, his son Jagan had floated a number of companies “wherein quid pro quo investments have been made out of the benefits received by the investors/beneficiaries from the decisions of the YSR government in various forms like SEZs, irrigation contracts, relaxation/permission for real estate ventures, and mining rights besides payment of huge premium amounts in the shares and investments in the companies by such beneficiaries.
The court also hinted at violations under the Money Laundering Act through investments in tax havens like Mauritius by the companies floated by Jagan. In the Emaar case, the charge against the Dubai-based company is that it duped the state exchequer to the tune of at least Rs 5,000 crore with the help of some in the state government including IAS officers. IAS officer B P Acharya, who was MD of APIIC then, also figures among the accused, said CBI sources. TOI