Hyderabad: Facing the heat over the probe into his alleged illegal wealth, Jaganmohan Reddy hit out at the Congress and said that his father’s legacy is being tarnished and that the Centre has unleashed a witch hunt against him.
Speaking to a news channel on Monday, Jagan - dubbed as India’s richest MP- said that he is helpless, alone and young and is being targeted for resigning from the party. “I was shown I-T notices after the death of my father,” rued Jagan.
Jagan is the son of Congress stalwart and former chief minister of Andhra Pradesh, late YS Rajashekhara Reddy who died in a helicopter crash in September 2009.
Taking on the Congress, Jagan said that his father’s reputation is being deliberately tarnished. He said, “This is what you do to a man who was with you for 30 years? You are attacking a dead man, this is witch hunting.”
When asked what message he would like to give to Sonia Gandhi, Jagan only said, “God is watching.”
On the future course of action, the Kadap MP, who had launched YSR Congress after he fell out with the grand old party, said, “We are not averse to supporting any party other than BJP. We have no issues with anybody else; let it be Sonia, Sharad Pawar or Mamata Banerjee.”
He also alleged that the Centre is doing injustice to Andhra Pradesh by not allocating powerful ministries to MPs from the state. “Why should we not get agriculture ministry when God so blesses us with numbers? Why should we not get railways when God so blesses us with the numbers?”
“These people have mentally made up their mind that somebody who has left Congress can’t come to power,” he added.
With regards to the allegations that he had influenced key policy decisions during his father’s tenure as the chief minister, Jagan said, “Get one single bite from any IAS officer that Jagan called up and told them to do something. You should ask the likes of Ahmed Patel (Sonia’s political secretary) about how many times they called up the CM to influence some decisions here.”
Last week the Andhra Pradesh High Court had ordered a full-fledged Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into Jagan’s alleged illegal wealth raising the possibility of his arrest and seizure of his assets.
The federal agency will book a criminal case and take up investigations under the Indian Penal Code, Prevention of Corruption Act and Prevention of Money Laundering Act as directed by the court.
The CBI, which questioned as many as 25 companies who made massive investments in Jagan`s businesses allegedly in return for the benefits they received from his father Rajasekhara Reddy, is expected to get a free hand in probing all aspects of the financial misdeeds
During the by-polls to the Kadapa Lok Sabha seat in May this year, Jagan had declared assets of Rs 365 crore. In the 2009 elections, he was worth Rs 77 crore.
Textiles Minister P Shankar Rao, on whose letter last year the court took up the hearing, claims that Jagan was worth Rs.11 lakh prior to 2004 but now has assets were worth Rs 43,000 crore.
YSR, as Jagan`s father was known, became chief minister in 2004 and remained in power till his death in a helicopter crash in 2009.
The court ordered probe after it was prima facie convinced that many companies invested "corrupt money" in the firms owned by Jagan as part of quid pro quo arrangement for the largesse and benefits received by the investors from the government.
The court in its order observed that the investors received benefits in various forms like special economic zones, irrigation contracts, relaxation/permission for real estate ventures and mines.
Noting that the companies floated by Jagan showed phenomenal growth, the division bench said the face value of the shares of some companies were escalated by as much as 35 times.
The companies, which received massive investments including those routed through tax haven countries, include Jagati Publications that published the Telugu daily Sakshi and Indira Television that runs the Sakshi television channel.