Hyderabad(IANS): The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Friday grilled YSR Congress Party leader Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy for over seven hours in the illegal assets case and will continue questioning him Saturday amid speculation that he could be arrested.
YSR Congress chief YS Jagan Mohan Reddy talking to the media after he was questioned by the CBI in Hyderabad on Friday in connection with a disproportionate assets case against him. PTI Emerging from Dilkusha Guest House, the CBI camp office here, at 6.30 p.m, Jagan told reporters that he had been asked to come again Saturday at 10.30 a.m.
“Clarifications have been sought and clarifications have been given. Tomorrow in continuation to the clarifications sought, they ask me to come again at 10.30 a.m. I will be seeing them once again at 10.30 a.m. tomorrow. They will be asking me further clarifications and I will be giving them further clarifications,” he said without elaborating further.
“It was very cool and peaceful,” he remarked to queries about the questioning. He later drove to his residence at Lotus Pond, where a large number of his supporters greeted him.
CBI officials led by joint director V.V. Lakshminarayana began questioning Jagan at 10.30 a.m. at Dilkusha Guest House.
Jagan’s family sent him lunch from home.
The CBI believed to have questioned him in the presence of Excise Minister Mopidevi Venkataramana, who was arrested Thursday for his role in issuing orders as minister for infrastructure and investment in the YSR cabinet, leading industrialist Nimmagadda Prasad and bureaucrat K.V. Brahmananda Reddy. All the three are currently in CBI custody.
Jagan was seen entering the guest house at 10.30 a.m with a smile on his face and greeting the officials with folded hands. The 40-year-old businessman-politician was accompanied by Congress MP Sabbam Hari, state legislators Alla Nani and Bhuma Nagi Reddy.
The usually busy Raj Bhavan Road, where the guest house is located, has been blocked by police. A few Jagan supporters who managed to reach near the guest house and raised slogans were arrested.
Hyderabad is virtually under police siege with deployment of forces at several places to avert any law and order problem in the event of Jagan’s arrest. Prohibitory orders banning assembly of five or more people have been imposed in the city and other parts of the state.
Personnel from city police, Andhra Pradesh Special Police and paramilitary Rapid Action Force (RAF) were deployed around the guest house and surrounding areas. Police kept water canons and tear gas ready.
A couple of hours after Jagan appeared before the CBI, unidentified people set afire two buses of state-owned Road Transport Corp (RTC) at Vanasthalipuram and L. B. Nagar areas in Hyderabad.
Dozens of Jagan supporters were arrested in various districts since Thursday night while heading for the state capital.
This is the first time that Jagan has appeared before the investigating agency since the CBI registered a case of assets disproportionate to income against him and 71 others in August last year.
The MP from Kadapa appeared before the CBI a day after Venkataramana was arrested in the same case.
Jagan is being questioned about the investments made into his companies by the firms which allegedly received land, licenses and other concessions from the government when his father Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy was chief minister. Rajasekhara Reddy died in September 2009.
The CBI, which has so far filed three charge sheets in the case, alleged that Jagan conspired with his father to dole out favours to certain companies under a quid pro quo arrangement.
It is questioning Jagan three days before he is scheduled to appear before a CBI special court.
Earlier, Jagan left his residence in the posh Banjara Hills area for the guest house amid tight security. A large number of supporters had gathered at his residence.
He took the blessings of his mother Vijayamma. His sister, wife and other family members saw him off. Those present at the house included Jagan’s aide and auditor Vijay Sai Reddy, also an accused in the case and now on bail.
Police have also imposed prohibitory orders in Jagan’s native district Kadapa and several places in the state.
Jagan, who was busy campaigning for the party in June 12 by-elections to one Lok Sabha and 18 assembly seats, had reached Hyderabad Thursday night.
Fearing breakdown of law and order situation in view of Jagan’s appearance before the CBI, the Hyderabad Police have clamped prohibitory orders under Section 144 CrPc in the city besides strengthening security in and around the Dilkhusa Guest House where a large number of police and RAF personnel have been deployed.
The probe agency wants to question Jagan on the Vadarevu and Nizampatnam Ports and Industrial Corridor (VANPIC) deal in the presence of industrialist Nimmagadda Prasad and senior bureaucrat K V Brahamandna Reddy who are already under arrest.
Prasad is the promoter in the VANPIC deal and allegedly invested Rs 850 crore in the business of Jagan for land allotment made to the VANPIC project by the then YSR regime on quid-pro-quo basis.
The CBI had yesterday arrested Andhra Pradesh Excise Minister Mopidevi Venkataramana in connection with the VANPIC project.
The Andhra Pradesh High Court asked Jagan on Wednesday to comply with the CBI directive and appear before the investigation agency on May 25.
The CBI court here yesterday had declined to grant him interim anticipatory bail even as Jagan pleaded that he was leading the campaign for the forthcoming bypolls in Andhra Pradesh for his party candidates.
The High Court as well as the CBI had turned down his pleas seeking exemption from appearing before the agency till June 15.
The CBI, in its charge sheet filed against Jagan and 12 others on March 31, accused Jagan and his father of hatching a conspiracy to defraud the government with Jagan influencing his father Rajeshkara Reddy in doing out certain favours to various investors, who made investments of several crores into Jagan’s businesses as a quid-pro-quo arrangement.
The Raj Bhavan route, which leads to the guest house was barricaded and a lot of traffic restrictions were imposed there.