Friday will be an important day for Jaganmohan Reddy. And depending on which way the decision of the CBI court goes, it will turn out to be an important day for Andhra Pradesh as well. And if the verdict of the court goes against the chief minister, it could well press the reset button on relations between YSRCP and the BJP, and between Andhra Pradesh and the Centre, by extension.
That is because the CBI court will decide whether or not to exempt Jagan from personal appearance in court for every trial in the different cases filed relating to disproportionate assets. Jagan had sought exemption arguing he had constitutional duties to perform, that it would take away two days of his time every week besides burdening the state exchequer with an expenditure of Rs 60 lakh every time he travelled from Amaravati to Hyderabad and back.
The CBI had alleged that Jagan in his position of power could influence witnesses and that though six years had passed since the filing of the last chargesheet, trial proceedings were yet to begin. Not having Jagan in court would only delay the proceedings further, the CBI said.
The CBI’s hardline position in court has surprised many because Jagan has taken care to be on the right side of the BJP government since he came to power in May. In fact, all through the election campaign, the TDP alleged that there was a deal between Jagan and the top BJP leadership to unseat Chandrababu Naidu.
At a personal level, it will be a loss of face for Jagan to stand in court every other week. When he used to appear in court every Friday, Naidu would often mock him, asking if Andhra Pradesh would want such a person as CM. Jagan has defended himself saying the cases are politically motivated, filed at the instance of Naidu and the Congress leadership.
There is a concern in the corridors of power as well, spoken in hush-hush tones. Having already accused Vijaysai Reddy, YSRCP MP and Accused number 2 in many of the cases of trying to influence witnesses, the apprehension is that the CBI during the course of the trial, could ask for cancellation of the bail to Jagan and Vijaysai Reddy.
Should that happen, that will create political turmoil in the YSRCP and Andhra Pradesh. Jagan spent 16 months in prison and was released on bail in September 2013.
Categories: Jaganmohan Reddy