Jagan case: Mopidevi`s judicial remand extended till June 21

A special CBI court extended judicial remand till June 21 of former Andhra Pradesh Excise Minister Mopidevi Venkata Ramana Rao.

Hyderabad: A special CBI court here on Thursday extended judicial remand till June 21 of former Andhra Pradesh Excise Minister Mopidevi Venkata Ramana Rao, who was arrested in connection with alleged disproportionate assets case against YSR Congress chief YS Jaganmohan Reddy.

Mopidevi, who was arrested by CBI on May 24 over his role in "clandestine" allocation of VANPIC project, (whose promoter industrialist Nimmagadda Prasad alias Matrix Prasad allegedly made investments of around Rs 850 crore in Jagan-owned firms) was remanded to CBI custody for five days initially.

He was later sent to judicial custody and lodged at Chanchalguda jail till today.

After completion of the judicial custody, the jail authorities produced Mopidevi before the court of Principal Special Judge for CBI cases today which further extended his remand till June 21, while dismissing his bail petition.

In his bail plea moved through his counsel, Mopidevi had earlier said he was suffering from high blood-pressure and other ailments and further contended that he was falsely implicated in the case.

He said the entire processing of files was done in routine course of business which was duly approved by the then Chief Minister (late YS Rajasekhara Reddy) and all rules relating to circulation of files were duly followed.

While opposing Mopidevi`s bail, the CBI had earlier claimed that it had ample evidence to show the complicity of the former minister in commission of the offence.

CBI said "he was instrumental in clandestine allocation of the VANPIC project in contravention to the laid down procedures, and approving the Cabinet Memorandum by withholding many important aspects related to the proposed project such as total extent of land".

Mopidevi, who held the portfolio of investment and
infrastructure in the cabinet of late Y S Rajasekhara Reddy, is accused of allocation of huge tracts of lands in Guntur and Prakasam districts to Nimmagadda Prasad for setting up the proposed Vadarevu and Nizampatnam Ports and Industrial Corridor (VANPIC) during 2008.

"The Cabinet approval came only for 4,000 acres for setting up two ports in Guntur and Prakasam districts. For setting up the proposed industrial corridor connecting both these ports, an unspecified quantum of land was sought and an additional 24,000 acres was transferred to Prasad`s firms in a clandestine manner," the agency had alleged.

According to CBI, as per the original agreement between the AP government and Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) government of UAE, the land should be returned to the state after the expiry of the lease period.

"However, Mopidevi, in connivance with Nimmagadda Prasad (an Indian partner of RAK and promoter of VANPIC) and others, managed to transfer 24,000 acres to the firms of Prasad permanently.

The Cabinet Memorandum recommended awarding of VANPIC project on the condition that after expiry of concession period, all the assets including lands would be transferred back to the government, whereas the Concession Agreement contains provisions for retention of Industrial Corridor lands (about 24,000 acres) by the concessionaire, with absolute rights, the CBI earlier submitted.

In furtherance of the criminal conspiracy, the minister also approved the draft concession agreement which had many contradictory provisions that were detrimental to the state government and unduly beneficial to concessionaire as compared to the Cabinet Memorandum, it had alleged.

Investigation revealed that these conflicting provisions in the Concession Agreement enabled dilution of RAK`s share from 51 percent to 26 per cent.

This facilitated entry of a private company Navayuga Engineering Company Limited into the project with 65 per cent of equity and getting control of it, defeating the objective of awarding the project on Government to Government (G2G) basis without going through the route of competitive bidding process.