Jaganmohan Reddy, politician from Andhra Pradesh, got some good news and some bad news today. The Andhra Pradesh High Court has agreed that the accounts of his Sakshi Media should be un-frozen. But the court rejected Mr Reddy's petition to postpone his interrogation by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to June. He will have to make himself available to investigators on Friday.
On May 8, the CBI, which is investigating the source of funds and other aspects of Mr Reddy's business empire, had written to different banks, ordering the freezing of all accounts in the name of Jagathi Publications, which runs Sakshi newspaper; Indira TV, which operates Sakshi TV; and Janani Infrastructure. While reversing that decision today, the High Court said Mr Reddy cannot sell any assets owned by Sakshi during the CBI's investigation. It also said that all payments for the media empire must be made by cheque.
The developments in court unfolded as Mr Reddy was served a notice by the CBI at a church in the Guntur district, ordering him to appear for interrogation on Friday. Mr Reddy, who is busy campaigning for by-elections in the area, had asked for his questioning to be deferred till after June 15.
Mr Reddy is the son of former Congress chief minister, YSR Reddy, who was killed in a helicopter crash in 2009. The CBI alleges that while YSR was in office, he influenced entrepreneurs to invest in his son's companies; in return, they were granted licences and other permissions required for their businesses.
Mr Reddy, who is an MP, split with the Congress after his father's death and formed his own party, the YSR Congress. In a letter to the Prime Minister on Tuesday, he said that the Congress, the opposition Telugu Desam Party, and the CBI are conspiring to have him arrested ahead of by-elections in the state, scheduled for June 12. Mr Reddy's party is fielding candidates for all 18 constituencies which will vote.
The investigation against Mr Reddy was ordered in August by the Andhra Pradesh High Court. A few weeks ago, the CBI said that the accounts of his businesses would remain frozen pending the investigation.
Meanwhile, YSR's brother, YS Vivekananda Reddy, has decided to quit the Congress and join his nephew's YSR Congress. (Read)