No more exemptions for Jagan from personal appearances, says CBI court
A special court for Central Bureau of Investigation cases in Hyderabad on Friday directed YSR Congress party president and Andhra Pradesh chief minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy to attend the court personally on January 10 in connection with the disproportionate assets case against him.
If the Andhra Pradesh chief minister follows the court direction, it will be the first time he will make a personal appearance in court after becoming the chief minister.
All these days, he has been seeking exemption from attendance in court in person every Friday by filing a petition under Section 317 of the Criminal Procedure Code, stating that he was not able to attend the court due to compelling reasons.
A YSRC leader familiar with the development said the chief minister might move the state high court challenging the CBI court order.
The CBI court, which held an in-camera hearing at the Nampally criminal court complex, expressed dissatisfaction over the repeated petitions by Jagan seeking exemption from personal appearances. The court pointed out that he had already been given 10 exemptions in a row.
“There will be no more exemptions. The accused will have to attend the court next Friday (January 10) under any circumstances,” the CBI court judge conveyed to Jagan’s counsel.
The judge also asked YSR Congress party general secretary and Rajya Sabha member V Vijaya Sai Reddy to appear before the court on January 10. Sai Reddy, who is Accused No. 2 (A-2) in the case, has also been seeking occasional exemptions from personal appearances in the court.
The Andhra Pradesh chief minister, who has been facing the CBI case since 2011, had been in jail for 16 months between May 2012 to September 2013, before coming out on bail. He had been attending the court regularly except during compelling circumstances.
After Jagan took over as the chief minister on May 30, 2019, he filed a petition in the court seeking permanent exemption from personal appearance on the ground that he had the constitutional responsibility to rule the state as the chief minister and also because his personal appearance in the court would cause huge burden on the state exchequer.
However, the court rejected Jagan’s petition on November 1 last year after strong opposition from the CBI, which said there was no change in the conditions of the case, except that Jagan had become the chief minister. The CBI argued that Jagan might influence the witnesses if given exemption.
The CBI had filed a total of 11 chargesheets against Jagan and the other accused in the disproportionate assets and quid pro quo cases. “In all the 11 chargesheets, the petitioner (Jagan) stands as an accused in his individual capacity and as representative of his privately owned companies and therefore should attend the court as such,” it argued.
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