Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy on Friday appeared before a Special Court of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in Hyderabad in connection with the ongoing trial in the disproportionate assets case against him.
This was Jagan’s first appearance in court for the trial after he assumed charge as Chief Minister on May 30, 2019.
The Special Court judge had on January 3 directed Jagan to appear in person for the trial, rejecting the latter’s plea for an exemption.
Along with Jagan, his close aide and YSRCP Rajya Sabha member V Vijaysai Reddy, who is also one of the accused in the cases, appeared before the court.
In view of Jagan’s court appearance, security was beefed up near the court’s premises. The YSRCP chief spent around two hours in court.
The court said that the next hearing would be held on January 17, and granted an exemption to the Chief Minister from personally appearing before it on that day.
The YSRCP President has been charge-sheeted and facing trial in at least 11 cases as the prime accused in alleged quid pro quo deals.
The cases relate to investments made by various companies in Jagan’s firms as quid pro quo for various favours bestowed on them during the tenure of his father late YS Rajasekhar Reddy as Chief Minister between 2004 and 2009.
Several former ministers and bureaucrats are also accused in the case.
Jagan is currently out on bail, having spent time in the Chanchalguda Central Prison from May 2012 to September 2013.
Soon after becoming Chief Minister, Jagan had filed a petition in the special court seeking exemption from personal appearance on the grounds that he is holding a constitutional post and needs to attend several important programmes.
The YSRCP chief’s counsel also contended that several lakh rupees of public money has to be spent for his security and other protocol requirements in view of his position.
However, the CBI had opposed the plea on the ground that there is a change only in personal capacity of the petitioner and not in the circumstances of the case. The federal agency had also argued that Jagan may influence the witnesses.
On November 1, the court rejected his plea but said that he could apply for exemption specifically for each hearing.
(With PTI inputs)