Jaganmohan Reddy, the founder of the YSR Congress, a party he named after his father, has applied for anticipatory bail. His move comes 24 hours ahead of a scheduled interrogation by the CBI in connection with a corruption case - one that could affect not just Mr Reddy's political fortunes, but that of several other leaders from the party he quit in a huff, the Congress.
Mr Reddy is hard at work campaigning in the Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh. When the CBI asked him to make himself available for questioning on Friday, he asked the High Court to defer the appointment to June 15. Till then, he argued, he would be busy with by-elections in 18 constituencies, where his new party hopes to make a considerable impression. The court refused his request. Mr Reddy, perched on a bus during his campaign, said today that the CBI's hurry to question him suggests a political conspiracy orchestrated by parties like the Congress, who hope to push him into jail before the elections are held.
The case against Mr Reddy is picking up speed. Today, a minister named M Venkatramana was arrested after seven hours of interrogation on Wednesday. He resigned soon after from the Congress government. Mr Venkataramana is currently the Prohibition and Excise minister. (Read)
In April, the Supreme Court ordered that in addition to Mr Reddy, the CBI must study the actions of six Congress ministers. They allegedly conspired with Mr Reddy's father, YRS, when he was chief minister, to help his son's business empire land huge investments. Companies looking for licences or permits were allegedly leaned upon by YSR and his ministers to fund Mr Reddy's ventures. The CBI contends that in his earlier avatar as Infrastructure Minister, Mr Venkataramana violated guidelines to allot land to industrialists.
The CBI inquiry was ordered by the Andhra Pradesh High Court in August 2011.