The Hyderabad High Court directed the Enforcement Directorate not to seize fixed deposits and other assets owned by YSRCP chief YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, and his wife Bharati.
In a hearing on Tuesday, the judge disposed a bunch of writ pleas that had questioned the authority of the ED to take physical possession of properties that were earlier attached, in a case against Jagan and his companies.
In June last year, the ED stated that assets worth over Rs 749 crore, including Jagan’s palatial house in Hyderabad, had been attached in connection with its money laundering probe against him.
These assets owned by various group companies of the Andhra Pradesh opposition leader, included movable properties worth Rs 344.38 crore and immovable ones worth Rs 404.72 crore.
The ED’s zonal office in Hyderabad said that it had registered a criminal case against Jaganmohan Reddy and other under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) based on a chargesheet filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in ‘quid pro quo’ case.
The chargesheet said that Jaganmohan Reddy, in criminal conspiracy with others, got allotted a mining lease to Bharathi Cement Corporation Private Limited illegally and received bribes from various persons/companies in the guise of investments in his group companies as ‘quid pro quo’ for undue favours granted to them by Andhra Pradesh government when Jagan’s father YS Rajasekhara Reddy was the chief minister.
The ED said its investigations revealed that Jaganmohan Reddy laundered the proceeds of crime through his group companies Sandur Power, Classic Realty, Silicon Builders, Saraswati Power and Industries and 10 other companies in the form of investments, purchase of movable and immovable properties and third party payments etc.
It was one of 11 chargesheets filed by CBI against Jagan, senior government officials of Andhra Pradesh and businessmen in the ‘quid pro quo’ investment case.
The ED had already attached assets worth over Rs 1,000 crore in the overall PMLA cases.
The allegations against Jagan relate to the period 2004-2009. Jaganmohan reddy, who was arrested in May 2012, spent 16 months in jail before he was released on bail in 2013.
In December last year, the ED transferred Rs 177 crore from his companies, including Bharathi Cements, into the investigating agency’s account.
The ED authorities reportedly took the step after their attachment order was confirmed by the adjudicating authority under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
Following this, Jagan moved court, questioning the ED’s hurried move to transfer the funds.
In the latest hearing, the counsel for the ED reportedly submitted that the the appeals of the petitioners were listed for hearing before the Appellate Authority of the ED in New Delhi on February 7 and 10.
The judge then asked the authority to dispose the appeals by February 10, and asked the ED to not take any ‘coercive’ steps until then.