There is still no relief for YSR Congress Chief Jagan Mohan Reddy as a special CBI court in Hyderabad has rejected his interim bail plea. Mr Reddy was arrested on Monday by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and sent to the Chanchalguda Jail in Hyderabad in connection with a case relating to disproportionate assets. He will stay in jail till June 11 - just a day before crucial by-elections in Andhra Pradesh are scheduled to take place.
The special CBI judge said that Mr Reddy could tamper with evidence or influence witnesses, so while the investigation is on, it is not possible to give bail.
The counsel for Mr Reddy had argued that he should be granted bail to enable him to campaign for his party for the by-polls. The MP from Kadapa was arrested after three days of extensive questioning by the CBI while he was busy campaigning in the Guntur district.
Mr Reddy's party and family have alleged that his arrest is part of a larger "political conspiracy" to prevent him campaigning for the elections. In fact, the YSR Congress and his supporters have earlier blamed the ruling Congress and the Telugu Desam Party for the CBI probe and his subsequent arrest, alleging the parties of aligning against him in a bid to check his growing popularity.
Questioning the timing of the CBI's questioning, that incidentally had not taken place in the last one year, Mr Reddy's counsel had, on Thursday, said that if he was granted interim bail, he would appear in the court after the campaigning ended on June 10. The YSR Congress chief was also ready for a daily appearance in the police station of the constituency he was visiting, his counsel said.
The CBI, however, opposed the bail petition on the grounds that Mr Reddy was the number one accused in the case and, if released on bail, could tamper with the evidence and influence the witnesses.
The CBI claims that Jagan Reddy misused his father, YSR Reddy's position as Chief Minister of the state in 2009, to secure big investments from various companies who were granted licences and clearances in return. Among his several firms that are under the scanner are Jagathi Publications, Indira TV and Janani Infrastructure.
Several ministers in the YSR government are also facing the heat for having facilitated 26 deals involving Mr Reddy. The group of ministers - Geetha Reddy, Sabitha Indra Reddy, Ponnala Laxmaiah, Dharmanna Prasad Rao, Kanna Laxminarayana and Mopidevi Venkatramana - was served notices on the order of the Supreme Court over the deals between the government and various companies. While Sabitha Reddy and Mr Venkatramana have already been questioned by the CBI, Geetha Reddy is likely to be questioned by the CBI today.