Hyderabad: In a bid to ward off criticism over extension of legal aid to five state ministers in a criminal case pending in the Supreme Court, the Andhra Pradesh government on Tuesday issued an order permitting six senior IAS officers and a retired bureaucrat to engage a legal counsel of their choice to fight their cases as well.
The government has agreed to reimburse the legal expenses "subject to the condition that the reimbursement will be uniform in all the cases as decided by the government in consultation with Law Department and Advocate General," state Chief Secretary Minnie Mathew said in an order issued this evening.
The order came more than three months after the bureaucrats made a plea to the government through separate letters, seeking reimbursement of their legal expenses in connection with the Special Leave Petition (SLP) filed by a lawyer P Sudhakar Reddy in relation to 26 controversial Government Orders issued during the tenure of the then Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy.
In all, eight IAS officers and six ministers are respondents in the SLP.
The Supreme Court issued notices to the respondents in March to defend themselves before it, either in person or through an advocate in the case relating to investigation by CBI against (Kadapa MP) Y S Jaganmohan Reddy and others registered in RC No. 19 (A)/2011.
Former Chief Secretary (now State Vigilance Commissioner) S V Prasad, Karnataka cadre officer K Ratna Prabha, senior IAS officers of AP Cadre M Samuel, C V S K Sarma, B Sam Bob, Manmohan Singh and Adityanath Das have sought legal assistance from the state government contending they issued the GOs as part of their official duties. These officers have already been questioned by the CBI in the Jagan`s disproportionate assets case.