Tightening the noose around YSR Congress Party Chief YS Jaganmohan Reddy, the Andhra Pradesh government on Thursday granted permission to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to attach the properties of his three companies while a special court directed CBI to provide copy of the first chargesheet to the Enforcement Directorate (ED).
The state government agreed to the CBI request for permission to attach the properties of Jagati Publications, Indira Television and Janani Infrastructure, an official source said.
Home Minister Sabita Indra Reddy sent the relevant file to Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy for final approval. A formal order to this effect is likely to be issued later in the day.
In another development, which could mount pressure on Jagan, a CBI court directed the agency to provide a copy of the first chargesheet and statements of the witnesses to ED.
The ED had sought the copies so that it could take up investigation under Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA). The ED also has powers under PMLA to attach the properties.
The ED had booked a case against Jagan last year under PMLA and is probing alleged violation of foreign exchange rules in his financial transactions and investments.
Foreign equity from companies in Mauritius, Luxembourg and British Virgin Islands allegedly flowed into his Sandur Power Company Limited (SPCL), through which the funds were later diverted into Jagati Publications.
The CBI, which is probing the MP's alleged illegal assets, wrote a letter to the state government seeking permission to attach his properties. This came a week after freezing the bank accounts of the three firms.
Following the freezing of accounts, the government issued an order, stopping all government advertisements to Jagati Publications, which publishes Telugu daily Sakshi and Indira Television, which runs the 24-hour Telugu news channel Sakshi.
The CBI will now move the court to attach the properties of the three companies, which figured in the First Information Report registered in last August.
Once the properties are attached, nobody can sell or purchase them. The CBI move came a few days ahead of Jagan's appearance in the CBI court on May 28. The court has issued summons to Jagan and 12 others with regard to the first charge sheet filed by the CBI against them.
According to CBI, Jagan, who had declared assets of Rs 365 crore last year, allegedly conspired with his father and then Chief Minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy to bestow favours on the companies which invested in his business on quid pro quo basis.
The investigating agency had Tuesday arrested leading industrialist Nimmagadda Prasad, who allegedly invested over Rs 500 crore into Jagan's companies in return for 15,500 acres of land and other concessions given by the government to him for a port project.
It was on the direction of the Andhra Pradesh High Court in August last year that, CBI booked Jagan and 72 companies and individuals. The CBI action has also come at a time when campaigning is on for the June 12 by-elections to 18 assembly seats and one Lok Sabha seat in the state.