Jagan Mohan Reddy, the founder of the YSR Congress, a party he named after his father, has been refused anticipatory bail. Mr Reddy is scheduled to be interrogated by the CBI tomorrow 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. (Read: As Jagan case builds, minister resigns after arrest)
One of those leaders, a minister named M Venkatramana, was arrested after seven hours of interrogation on Wednesday. Mr Venkatramana has also been remanded to judicial custody till June 7. He resigned soon after from the Congress government. Violence erupted this evening in his constituency of Repalle with his supporters attacking public buses. Mr Venkatramana was till today the Excise Minister. But he has been arrested for allegedly violating the rules to give land to industrialists when he was the Infrastructure Minister while Mr Reddy's father, YSR, was chief minister who died in a helicopter crash in 2009.
The CBI's case against Mr Reddy alleges that when YSR was in power, he conspired with other ministers 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. Six Congress ministers are now being studied for possible collusion.
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 CBI inquiry into Mr Reddy's business empire and the source of its funds was ordered by the Andhra Pradesh High Court in August 2011.