More ministers, IAS officers set to fall in CBI’s net

Hyderabad, August 31: The Central Bureau of Investigation is preparing to tighten its noose around some tainted ministers and IAS officials. CBI’s joint director VV Laxminarayanana met the Chief Secretary SV Prasad at the State Secretariat here on Tuesday, which gives clear indications that the agency might soon take action against some more officials and the ministers in connection with disproportionate assets case against Kadapa MP Jagan Mohan Reddy.

The CBI official is understood to have asked government to extend its cooperation specifically to arrive at or unearth the information pertaining to the involvement of all concerned in the Emaar Properties- APICC deal, which resulted in huge losses to the State’s exchequer. So far, 74 persons have been named in its FIR. Sources say that the Chief Secretary has been requested to help the CBI officials lay their hands on the key and related files in the departments of Revenue, Information Technology, APIIC, Mines, Industries, Major Irrigation, Municipal Administration and Commercial Taxes.

Once the cited files fall into the hands of the CBI officers, the investigating agency would initiate the process to effect arrests of ministers or the IAS officers involved in with shady deals and those who played a role in helping Jagan Mohan Reddy acquire illegal wealth. The APIIC was forced to accept a mere two percent equity and the Emaar properties was allowed a lion’s share under the then managing director (now principal home secretary) of APIIC BP Acharya and the then APIIC chairman Ambati Rambabu, under the command of the then chief minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy.

The CBI joint director sought the recorded evidence wherein some cabinet ministers and IAS officers were involved in the irregular and illegal land allotments to YS Jagan Mohan Reddy’s business partners on a quid pro quo basis, which gave scope for the exchequer to suffer huge monetary losses. Going by the seriousness exhibited by Laxminarayana in meeting the Chief Secretary, it became evident that the connected ministers’ role would be highlighted in the said scam as part of CBI’s investigation, which was ordered by the Andhra Pradesh High Court earlier.

Home Minister P Sabitha Reddy and Balineni Srivasulu Reddy (now with Jagan’s camp) were holding the portfolio of mines ministry one after the other during YSR’s regime. Dharmana Prasasda Rao, now Roads and Buildings minister was holding a key portfolio of Revenue when YSR was at his height of power. Revenue portfolio had given him a strong handle to favour Jaganmohan Reddy’s business partners wherever there was ample scope to do so.

Both Geetha Reddy and Kanna Laxminarayana handled the industries portfolio one after the other and both of them were said to have showed undue favours allotting land under Special Economic Zones to YSR’s son Jaganmohan Reddy and his partners. APCC chief Botsa Satyanarayana also held Industries and Panchayati Raj portfolios under YSR’s leadership. Now he is also transport minister. During YSR’s regime Botsa was believed to have had a hand in the affairs of Volkswagon project.

The then irrigation minister Ponnala Lakshmiah (now endowments and IT minister) has reportedly played a part in the irregularities in the Jalayagnam projects launched by the YSR.