Padayatra issue: CBI court refuses to exempt YSR Cong chief from court appearances
The petition filed by YS Jaganmohan Reddy stated that as he was scheduled to undertake the marathon padayatra from November 2, it would be difficult for him to attend weekly court proceedings for six months. The YSR Congress chief is being tried in a disproportionate assets case.Updated: Oct 23, 2017 18:14 IST
In a setback to the YSR Congress, a Hyderabad CBI special court on Monday dismissed party president YS Jaganmohan Reddy’s plea for exemption from court appearances for a period of six months in view of a proposed padayatra across Andhra Pradesh.
Reddy is currently required to appear before the special court every Friday in connection with a disproportionate assets case.
The petition filed by the politician on October 6 stated that as he was scheduled to undertake the marathon padayatra from November 2, it would be difficult for him to attend weekly court proceedings for six months. On October 13, the CBI filed a counter-petition opposing Reddy’s plea. Contending that exemption from court appearances cannot be sought for political reasons, it accused Reddy of using the padayatra as an excuse to avoid trial. “Jagan is only trying to delay the trial into his serious economic offences,” the probe agency argued in its petition.
The CBI also criticised Reddy for planning the padayatra without seeking specific judicial permission, stating that it amounted to “disrespecting the court”.
The court heard arguments from both sides on October 20, before reserving its judgment. On Monday, it agreed with the investigating agency’s argument that the politician was only trying to delay the trial and summarily dismissed his petition.
Reddy can easily come to Hyderabad every Friday, the court said. “This will not only give the petitioner an opportunity to respect the court order but also allow him to take a break from the prolonged foot march every week.”
However, sources in the YSR Congress camp said the court was making it sound too easy.
Reddy’s scheduled event involves embarking on a non-stop padayatra for six months, covering a distance of 3,000 km through 120 assembly constituencies. “If he takes a break every Friday, the whole schedule will be upset. To abide by the CBI court order, Jagan will have to halt at a pre-decided place every Thursday evening, come down to Hyderabad by air or road, attend court on Friday and then return to the scheduled place by night. That’s going to be strenuous,” a party leader said.
Party spokesperson Ambati Rambabu said they were considering moving the high court against the trial court order.
First Published: Oct 23, 2017 18:13 IST