In a big development, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy on Friday appeared before a CBI Special Court in connection with the ongoing trial in the quid pro quo investments cases against him. This is Jagan's first appearance in court for the trial after he assumed charge as Chief Minister on May 30, 2019.
The Special Court judge had on January 3 directed Jagan to appear in person for the trial, rejecting the latter's plea for an exemption. Along with Jagan, his close aide and YSR Congress Rajya Sabha member V Vijaysai Reddy, who is also one of the accused in the cases, too appeared before the court.
The YSR Congress president and Andhra CM, who is currently bail from the Chanchalguda jail in September 2013, after being in prison for 15 months following his arrest in May 2012 in related cases, was charge-sheeted in at least 11 cases as the prime accused in alleged quid pro quo deals. While granting him bail, the special CBI court had ordered him not to directly or indirectly induce or influence witnesses.
The cases relate to investments made by various companies in Jagan's firms as quid pro quo for various favours bestowed on them during the tenure of his father late Y S Rajasekhara Reddy as Chief Minister between 2004 and 2009. Several former ministers and bureaucrats are also accused in the case.
In the run-up to the Assembly elections in Andhra last year, Jagan's appearance in the court had reduced after he urged the court to dispense with his appearance and the court had allowed his pleas. Soon after becoming Chief Minister, Jagan had filed a petition in the special court of CBI seeking exemption from personal appearance as he would be busy with official duties. On November 1, the court, however, rejected his plea and directed that he appear for trial every Friday. Jagan had not been attending the trial proceedings citing his official engagements as the reason for his absence. Not impressed by this, the Special Court judge had on January 3 directed that Jagan attend the proceedings on January 10.