CBI wants two Andhra ex-ministers in custody for Jagan case

Hyderabad, June 7 (IANS) The CBI has sought the judicial custody of former Andhra Pradesh ministers Sabitha Indra Reddy and Dharmana Prasada Rao in YSR Congress Party chief Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy's disproportionate assets case.

The investigating agency Friday filed a memo in the special CBI court, seeking judicial custody of the two former ministers, already named as accused in the charge sheets.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) said the two ministers spoke to the media in a manner which could hamper the investigations and hence they may be sent to judicial custody. It submitted to the court a CD containing the media interaction of the two leaders.

Last month, Sabitha resigned as home minister and Dharmana as roads and buildings ministers after they were named as accused by the CBI. Sabitha, Jaganmohan Reddy and other accused in Dalmia Cements episode of the case Friday appeared in the special court.

The court extended the judicial custody of Jagan, as the MP from Kadapa is popularly known, his financial advisor V. Vijay Sai Reddy till June 21 and adjourned the case to the same date. The judge also directed all the accused named in the charge sheet to again appear in the court.

Jagan, who competed one year in judicial custody on May 27, and Vijay Sai Reddy were brought from Chanchalguda Central Jail to the court amid tight security. There was mild tension when Jagan's mother Y.S. Vijayamma, wife Bharathi and other family members were not allowed by the police inside the court complex.

The court later allowed the family members to meet Jagan for an hour. He was subsequently shifted back to the jail.

Sabitha, Jagan, Vijay Sai and other accused appeared before the court in response to the summons issued by the court May 14 in connection with the fifth charge sheet filed by the CBI in April about the role of Dalmia Cements and other firms in the case.

The court directed the accused, including Sabitha, to furnish a personal bond of Rs.25,000 and two sureties of like amount.

The accused also include Dalmia Cements managing director Punit Dalmia, suspended IAS officer Y. Srilakshmi and the then Andhra Pradesh director of mines V.D. Rajagopal. Srilakshmi and Rajagopal are also accused in illegal mining case involving former Karnataka minister Gali Janardhana Reddy.

The fifth charge sheet relates to the investments made by Dalmia Cements, Eeswar Cements and Raghuram Cements in the companies owned by Jagan in return for the favours they allegedly received from the government when Jagan's father Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy was the chief minister.

Sabitha, who was minister for mines during 2004-09, was charged with misuse of office as a public servant in granting limestone mining lease in an extent of 407.05 hectares in Thalamanchipatnam village of Mylavaram mandal, to Dalmia Cements in Kadapa district in 2008 for 30 years.

Sabitha is the third former minister after Mopidevi Venkataramana Rao and Dharmana Prasada Rao to face charges in the case.

Mopidevi, an accused in VANPIC episode of the case, is in judicial custody since May last year. Dharmana was also named as an accused in the same aspect of the case in August last year.

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