In a major relief to YSR Congress Party chief YS Jaganmohan Reddy, the Hyderabad High Court on Wednesday stated that the Enforcement Directorate (ED) could not take over properties and fixed deposits of the petitioner's companies.
This came a day after Jagan filed a petition challenging the action of the ED in transferring Rs 177 crore from his companies, including Bharathi Cements, into the investigating agency's account.
The ED authorities reportedly took the step after their attachment order was confirmed by the adjudicating authority under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
The petitioners who challenged the ED proceedings besides Jagan are Silicon Infra, Bhagavat Sannidhi Ltd, Revan Infra company , Capstone Infra, Utopia Infra, Saraswati Power and Silicon Infra.
Jagan's advocate told the HC that the act gives them 45 days to challenge the decision of the adjudicating authority, and also questioned the ED's hurried move to transfer the funds, TNIE reported.
Meanwhile the ED's counsel reportedly told the court that the agency has the power to dispossess the possessors of proceeds of crime once the attachment orders are confirmed.
In June this year, the ED stated that assets worth over Rs 749 crore, including Jaganâ€™s palatial house in Hyderabad, had been attached in connection with its money laundering probe against him.
These assets owned by various group companies of the Andhra Pradesh opposition leader, included movable properties worth Rs 344.38 crore and immovable ones worth Rs 404.72 crore.
The ED's zonal office in Hyderabad said that it had registered a criminal case against Jaganmohan Reddy and other under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) based on a chargesheet filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in 'quid pro quo' case.
The chargesheet said that Jaganmohan Reddy, in criminal conspiracy with others, got allotted a mining lease to Bharathi Cement Corporation Private Limited illegally and received bribes from various persons/companies in the guise of investments in his group companies as 'quid pro quo' for undue favours granted to them by Andhra Pradesh government when Jagan's father YS Rajasekhara Reddy was the chief minister.
The ED said its investigations revealed that Jaganmohan Reddy laundered the proceeds of crime through his group companies Sandur Power, Classic Realty, Silicon Builders, Saraswati Power and Industries and 10 other companies in the form of investments, purchase of movable and immovable properties and third party payments etc.
It was one of 11 chargesheets filed by CBI against Jagan, senior government officials of Andhra Pradesh and businessmen in the 'quid pro quo' investment case.
The ED had already attached assets worth over Rs 1,000 crore in the overall PMLA cases.
The allegations against Jagan relate to the period 2004-2009. Jaganmohan reddy, who was arrested in May 2012, spent 16 months in jail before he was released on bail in 2013.
After hearing both sides, the judge directed the ED not to dispossess the petitioners till an appeal to a tribunal is made, and the latter takes a call on the issue.