Jagan set to walk out on bail after 16 months

Hyderabad, Sep 23 (IANS) After spending nearly 16 months in jail, YSR Congress party president Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy is set to walk free as a special CBI court Monday granted him conditional bail in an illegal assets case.

Pronouncing the order, reserved last week, on the bail petition, CBI Special Judge U. Durgaprasada Rao directed him not to leave Hyderabad without the court's permission and not to interfere with the investigations.

Jagan, as the MP from Kadapa is popularly known, was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) May 27 last year. The 40-year-old son of late chief minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy is expected to walk out of Chanchalguda Central Jail Tuesday.

The special court granted Jagan bail on a Rs.2 lakh personal bond and two sureties of equal amount.

"Today we will not be able to furnish sureties. We will furnish the same in the first hour tomorrow," Jagan's lawyer Ashok Reddy told reporters outside the court.

The judge directed Jagan to appear before the court whenever the proceedings required his presence and said if the accused violates the conditions, the CBI could approach the court for cancellation of bail.

The court granted the bail a few days after the four month deadline set by the Supreme Court for the CBI to complete the investigations ended.

The CBI has so far filed 10 chargesheets in the case against Jagan, his aides, former state ministers, IAS officers, corporate entities and businessmen. Five of the charge sheets were filed this month.

The trial court, the high court and the Supreme Court had rejected Jagan's bail petitions on several occasions during the last 16 months.

The CBI had opposed Jagan's bail plea on the ground that he may influence the witnesses. The agency, however, told the court that it has completed investigations in the case. It also informed the court that it did not find any evidence against some companies booked by it.

The case relates to alleged investments made by private firms and individual investors in Reddy's companies in return for the favours they received when his father YSR was the chief minister between 2004-09.

Jagan's father died in a helicopter crash in September 2009, a few months after he led Congress party to a second consecutive term in power. Following differences with Congress leadership, Jagan quit the Congress party in 2010 and floated the YSR Congress.

The Andhra Pradesh High Court in 2011 ordered CBI investigations into Jagan's alleged illegal assets when Congress leader P. Shankar Rao wrote a letter to the chief justice.

The CBI had booked Jagan and 72 others on charges of cheating and criminal conspiracy. The MP's financial advisor Vijay Sai Reddy and industrialist Nimmagadda Prasad are still in jail.

Former minister Mopidevi Venkatramna, who was arrested along with Jagan, was granted interim bail last week.

Two state ministers quit in May this year after they were named as accused by the CBI.

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