A reference to Jaganmohan Reddy’s case by Judge Sunil Gaur while cancelling the anticipatory bail to P Chidambaram this week has provided ammunition to the Telugu Desam that has been downcast ever since its humiliating defeat in the elections in Andhra Pradesh. Judge Gaur was inspired by the Supreme court ruling in the YS Jaganmohan Reddy vs CBI (2013) case where the petitioner was refused bail in connection with a money laundering case.
At that time, the apex court had observed that “Economic offences constitute a class part and need to be visited with a different approach in matters of bail. The economic offences having been deep-rooted conspiracies and involving huge loss of public funds need to be viewed seriously and considered as grave offences affecting the economy of the country as a whole and thereby posing serious threat to the financial health of the country.”
Jaganmohan Reddy was subsequently released on bail in September 2013, after spending 16 months in Hyderabad prison.
The TDP has always taunted Jagan as a “financial terrorist” and Chandrababu Naidu personally poked fun at the fact that the YSRCP chief had to be in Hyderabad every Friday for his mandatory court appearances. The party obviously wants the Andhra Pradesh chief minister to be seen in the same light as Chidambaram. The party has no love lost for Chidambaram, who as Union Home minister in December 2009, was the one who started the process of the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh.
This labeling is what many believe is the reason for Jagan’s overdrive in proving allegations of corruption against Naidu. One of the first decisions taken by Jagan after he took over as CM in May 2019, was to stop work in Amaravati, accusing Naidu and other TDP leaders of indulging in insider trading. Polavaram and power projects too reeked of corruption, has been Jagan’s position.
Incidentally, this is not the first time that the Jagan reference has been used in Chidambaram case. When the Congress ticket for Sivaganga Lok Sabha constituency in Tamil Nadu was initially denied to Karti Chidambaram, it was done because of detractors of Chidambaram within the party. They had raised the bogey of Karti emerging as the “Jaganmohan Reddy of Tamil Nadu” if he was allowed to contest. Karti eventually got the ticket and defeated H Raja of the NDA from Sivaganga.
The Jagan camp, incidentally, too has always felt that Chidambaram as a senior leader of the UPA regime, did not paint a positive image of their leader after YS Rajasekhara Reddy’s demise. Jagan was projected as an impetuous son who staked claim to his father’s chair.