Hyderabad: A day after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) froze its bank accounts, the Sakshi Group of companies owned by YSR Congress party leader YS Jaganmohan Reddy Wednesday filed a petition challenging the investigating agency`s move.
Jagati Publications, which publishes Telugu daily Sakshi and Indira Television, which runs the 24-hour Telugu news channel Sakshi, urged the CBI court here to defreeze their bank accounts.
The petition alleged that the CBI action had endangered the livelihood of 20,000 employees.
The court directed the CBI to file a counter and adjourned the hearing to Thursday.
The CBI, which is probing the illegal assets of Jaganmohan Reddy, known as Jagan, has frozen the bank accounts of Jagat Publications, Indira Television and Janani Infrastructure Pvt. Ltd, all owned by the MP from Kadapa.
All the three companies were named in the FIR registered by the CBI in August last year following a direction from Andhra Pradesh high court.
However, only Jagati Publications figured in the three chargesheets the federal agency has so far filed in the court.
The son of late chief minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy has termed the CBI action as "daylight murder" of democracy aimed at stifling his media units.
A statement issued on behalf of Jagati Publications and Indira TV Wednesday said the CBI move had virtually paralysed Sakshi newspaper, which has a daily circulation of 14.5 lakh, and Sakshi TV.
YSR Congress party alleged that the action was taken without serving a prior notice on the organisations. "No explanation has been called for by CBI. This is nothing but a clear violation of the fundamental rights guaranteed to citizens...."
"We wonder as to how the CBI came to the conclusion that we have been parking ill-gotten funds in these current accounts. In these current accounts we deposit the monies we get by sale of the paper and proceeds of advertisement and meet there from expenditure on establishment and operations. Where is the ill-gotten money in these transactions," the party asked.
The CBI froze the current accounts of the three firms a day after the CBI court issued summons to Jagan and 12 others with regard to the first chargesheet filed by the CBI on March 31.
The CBI had booked a case against Jagan and 72 others in August last year. According to the federal agency, Jagan conspired with his father and then chief minister to grant favours to several companies which invested huge money into his businesses on quid-pro-quo basis.