In jail for the past 16 months in disproportionate assets case, YSR Congress leader YS Jaganmohan Reddy was granted bail by a special court in Hyderabad on Monday.
The 40-year-old leader, who could walk out of the Chanchalguda Jail here on Tuesday, cannot leave Hyderabad without the court’s permission.
The bail conditions also forbid Reddy from interacting with the witnesses named in the 10 charge-sheets filed by the CBI in the case.
Jagan, as he is popularly known, is the son of late chief minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy (YSR) and at present represents Andhra Pradesh’s Kadapa in the Lok Sabha.
The case relates to allegations of quid pro quo investments by industrialists in Jagan’s companies – prominent among them is Jagathi Publications that brings out Sakshi newspaper – in return of land allocations to them at throwaway prices by the YSR government between 2004 and 2009.
Several top industrialists, bureaucrats and state ministers are named in the charge-sheets either as accused or witnesses.
Jagan, who aspired to become the CM following his father’s death, left the Congress in 2010 and formed the YSR Congress in 2011. He was arrested by the CBI in May 2012.
Denied bail despite several attempts including one at the Supreme Court, Reddy finally received the respite following the CBI’s submission before the court that probe in the matter is complete.
The bail comes at a crucial juncture in Andhra Pradesh politics. After Congress’s July 30 decision, the state is faced with bifurcation that creates Telangana – a prospect opposed by Seema-Andhra people who have been agitating since the last 55 days.
Seema-Andhra region is YSR Congress’ stronghold. Changing its earlier stand, Jagan’s party is now strongly opposed to Andhra Pradesh’s division.
The party’s 17 MLAs and two MPs – including Jagan – had submitted resignations in protest. While Jagan’s mother and MLA YS Vijayamma, sat on fast and protests in Vijayawada and New Delhi, his sister Sharmila went on Seema-Andhra tour lambasting Congress’s decision. Even Jagan sat on fast for a few days.
With his release, Jagan is expected to further capitalise on the overwhelming opposition to division in 13 Seema-Andhra districts. “Our leader would concentrate his efforts to keep the state united,” Mekapati Rajamohan Reddy, party MP said.
While the party cadres erupted in celebrations, rival TDP termed the bail a result of ‘match-fixing’ between the Congress and YSR Congress.
TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu, presently in New Delhi lobbying over the Telangana issue, referred to Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh’s remarks earlier that Jagan has Congress’s DNA.