The Central Bureau of Investigation(CBI) has surprised many by naming just two prominent companies of Hyderabad — Aurobindo Pharma and Hetero Drugs —in its much-awaited chargesheet against Kadapa MP YS Jagan Mohan Reddy in the alleged quid pro quo investments made into the latter’s firms by them. Only last August, the CBI in its FIR had named 71 firms and individuals linking them to Jagan.
Those watching the development closely, however, see a reason behind the CBI’s intent of keeping the chargesheet a low-profile.
To put this question to rest, CBI subsequently approached the special court hearing its cases with a request that it be permitted to further investigate the case and file supplementary chargesheets as and when required. This is a clear indication that more names are expected to be included in the accused list as and when the CBI prepares to file the supplementary chargesheets.
The chargesheet states that the promoters of the listed entity Aurobindo and unlisted pharma company Hetero Drugs had made investments to the tune of Rs 10 crore and Rs 19.5 crore in Jagathi Publications and Janani Infra that own the assets of Jagathi, both promoted by Jagan.
The CBI alleged that this was done as a quid pro quo arrangement for receiving 75 acre land each in an industrial park at a concessional rate of Rs 7 lakh per acre against Rs 15 lakh as approved by the price fixation committee of the state-owned AP Industrial Infrastructure Corporation (APIIC).
While the AG audit had indicated a total cash loss of Rs 12.26 crore, the CBI has arrived at a figure of Rs 17.20 crore of wrongful gain by the two accused in this single transaction.
When contacted for his response on the chargesheet, K Nityananda Reddy, managing director of Aurobindo, said he did not want to comment at this stage as they are yet to receive a copy of the document. A Sudhakar Reddy, general manager (corporate affairs) of Hetero Drugs, said the company would not like to respond on the development as the matter was before the court.
However, neither the amount invested by the accused nor the amount of alleged wrongful gain made by them justify the kind of prominence given to the two accused in a chargesheet, which was set to explain as to how Jagan had raised Rs 1,246 crore to launch a newspaper and a television channel.
The Jagan camp has alleged that the chargesheet was filed only to stop the possibility of granting bail to Vijayasai Reddy, a key associate of the YSR family and vice chairman of Jagathi Publications, by the court as his custody period exceeds the 90-day period by April 2.
Besides having a clear evidence of former chief minister’s involvement in the decision, the reason for naming only Aurobindo and Hetero could be that the allotment of land was done at the level of APIIC and was not connected to any of the 26 government orders, which are now a subject matter for hearing before the Supreme Court, and are linked to Jagan’s case, according to a senior government official.
The note file in Aurobindo’s case as quoted in the chargesheet states the following: “The discussion was mainly on allocation of huge extents of land to two large units. MD has informed that the rate and extent of land was decided in the presence of the CM and there is no need to open the issue.”
It may be recalled that the Supreme Court last month had issued notices to close to dozen ministers and IAS officers in the state government, who were responsible for issuing these GOs, which were quoted as the source of bribery and quid pro quo investments for YSR's son. The apex court responded to this effect on a petition, which had argued that the CBI did not investigate the role of the said ministers and officers in Jagan’s case only to dilute the issue going forward.
In the light of the Supreme Court notices, the investigating agency now has to address the question as to how it would proceed against Jagan, who was outside the government, without fixing the responsibility of the ministers and officers whose actions allegedly benefited him.
While these ministers and IAS officers are yet to file their replies to the court notices and also with no final word coming from the Supreme Court on this matter, the CBI is in a difficult situation in bringing the names of other alleged beneficiaries of government largesse on record at this juncture, said the official, who did not want to be named.