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The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Wednesday attached assets worth Rs 863 crore of YSR Congress leader YS Jaganmohan Reddy and his associates in connection with its probe into alleged money laundering in an infrastructure project in Andhra Pradesh.
This is one of the biggest asset attachment orders of the ED. In most of the surveys for the Lok Sabha polls, Jagan’s party is emerging as a big force in AP, particularly Seemandhra.
The attached properties include shares, plant and machinery worth Rs 365.45 crore and fixed deposit receipts of Rs 4.14 crore of Jagati Publication Public Ltd (JPPL), shares of Indira Television Private Limited (a subsidiary of JPPL) worth Rs 100.44 crore, Jagan’s properties amounting to Rs 11 crore and his shares in Sandur Power to the tune of Rs 57 crore.
The ED attachment order will be vetted by a tribunal constituted under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act and if the Central Bureau of Investigations’s (CBI’s) charges in the case are proved in court, the assets will be confiscated.
The ED slapped separate notices against Jagan and Nimmagadda Prasad whose companies were allegedly favoured by the AP government when YSR Reddy was the CM in the Vadarevu and Nizampatnam Industrial Corridor (VANPIC) project.
The project was for developing seaports and a greenfield airport in coastal areas of the southern state and industrial corridors in Prakasam and Guntur districts.
On the basis of the CBI FIR, the ED launched a money-laundering probe to attach assets allegedly made of ill-gotten money.
The ED probe said there was quid pro quo (something that is given to you or done for you in return for something you have given to or done for someone else) in this deal and hence illegal money exchanged hands.
During the probe, the ED relied upon the CBI chargesheet, which said illegal gains to the tune of Rs 1,426.17 crore were made to Prasad in land acquisition and Rs 854.54 crore was made to Jagan and his companies as quid pro quo by Prasad and his companies.
"Various concessions were extended to the VANPIC project in the form of alienation of huge chunks of assigned government land to the companies floated by Nimmagadda Prasad, development of shipyard, greenfield airport, exemptions from levy of stamp duty and registration charges, seigniorage (deed-signing) fee and other undue benefits were extended," said an ED statement.
The ED action comes on the day of the announcement of the Lok Sabha polls schedule. Andhra Pradesh will have two-phase polls — April 30 and May 7.
The decision to carve out Telangana as India’s 29th state from AP has changed the political equations in the state with 42 Lok Sabha seats.
After the death of his father and Andhra chief minister YSR Reddy in a chopper crash in 2009, Jagan had a bitter parting with the Congress and launched the YSR Congress.
Jagan is facing many criminal proceedings launched by the CBI and the ED.
He spenty nearly 16 months in jail in a disproportionate assets case before walking out on bail in September last year.