So, YS Jagan Mohan Reddy has been arrested by the CBI on a charge of disproportionate income. His declared assets in 2004 were over 9 lakh, according to Deccan Herald (May 25). In the following year it rose to Rs 6.6 crore according to DNA (May 28). By 2011 the figure had risen to Rs 365 crore and in 2012 it was about Rs 400 crore, again according to Deccan Herald which said that Jagan’s arrest “Has an undeniable political dimension though there are clear circumstances that warrant the pursuit of the young leader by the law enforcement agencies.”
It is said that between 2003 and 2010 Jagan had floated at least 36 companies to expand his business empire supporting the exponential growth in his wealth. According to DNA (May 28) “However, the CBI has alleged that most of the funds that have come into Jagan’s accounts were routed through a quid pro arrangement with industrialists and at least 22 firms were floated to be brief case companies only, to make use of them to route the illegally gotten monies.” Now who is right?
Jagan Mohan is the son of former Congress Chief Minister YS Rajasekhar Reddy who died in a suspicious helicopter accident. One suggestion is that it was the father who was corrupt. As The Free Press Journal (May 29) put it, it was the father who was corrupt and “the darling of the 10 Janpath Establishment” and “so long as he was alive … he reportedly shared a good percentage of the loot” he indulged in. The father was sending, according to the paper “suitcases of the stuff” to Delhi and “the street gossip in Hyderabad was that up to 20 per cent of the loot was shared by him with the party High Command.” The party refused to appoint Jagan as his father’s successor, so he started his own party called YSR Congress which apparently has large public support. So, says the media, getting Jagan arrested is a case of seeking vengeance.
The Free Press Journal (May 29) raised some important points. Thus, it damned the CBI for (a) doing precious little in the Disproportionate Income cases pending against Mayawati and Mulayam Singh Yadav for years”, (b) that if Jagan is guilty “how about the Ministers of YSR government who are now key members of the Andhra Pradesh Government (c) that the CBI has “botched its copybook by most shamelessly becoming an extension of the ruling party” and finally, said the paper, “disbanding (the CBI) would be a better option in these circumstances then persisting with a partisan and corrupt agency which indulges in witch-hunt to please its political masters.”
The Asian Age (May 29) quoted Congress opponents and Jagan’s supporters as saying that his arrest “is inspired by political vendetta”. For all that, the paper said “no government worth its salt can sit back and do nothing when serious charges are articulated and accepted by the Court.” If it sits back said the paper, “It would be party to the worst case of crony capitalism.”
Deccan Herald (May 25) said “Jagan is a symbol of an amoral and cynical culture that is spreading and taking roots in the country” and “It is a combination of caste, money power, lineage, personality and scant regard for scruples.”
The Economic Times (May 30) said that Reddy’s arrest “seems to show that the politics of vendetta has reared its ugly head” and the Congress administration “will now pursue the son because he is a rebel and political threat”. The paper said that “investigators believe that (the asset evaluation) is an understatement”, noting that “the system of kickbacks and slush funds – which finance individual politicians in return for favours, clearances and permits to do business – has to change.” Parties, it said, “have to reform the way they collect funds.”
The Hindu (May 29) said that “no matter what the Congress does from now on, the arrest of … Jagamohan Reddy … will always be seen as a political move and not as the logical outcome of a criminal investigation in a disproportionate asset case against him.” The paper said “the prevailing political circumstances, and the manner in which events have played out over the last few months have left the Congress looking like a petty schemer and a big bully.” And it suggested that “if the Congress is to effectively meet the Jagan challenge, it will have to do so politically and not through the disproportionate use of investigative assets.”
The Congress indeed is seen as indulging in vendetta. The vendetta is not against Jagan alone. Whoever challenges the Congress invites attention. Thus, according to the Free Press Journal (May 23) “The Income Tax Authorities and Enforcement Directorate have been told to audit the accounts of Anna Hazare’s voluntary organisation known as India Against Corruption.”
The Asian Age (June 3) has devoted an entire page to Jagan’s alleged misdeeds. It is almost unbelievable! The CBI has thus alleged that Jagan had routed Rs 124.6 crore of his ill-gotten money via Mauritius and Luxembourg into his Sandur Power Company. The list is long and frightening. Fancy the YSR government allotting 10,760 acres of land to Brahmani Industries Ltd to establish a steel plant in Jammalmadugu in Kadapa district, the same district which Jagan represents. But while Jagan has been arrested, how come Lalu Prasad Yadav against whom there are charges is allowed to go free? And what about Mayawati in Uttar Pradesh? The current Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has alleged that Mayawati is involved in scams to the tune of over Rs 40,000 crore and that a Commission would soon be constituted to inquire into them. Funds it would seem have been misappropriated even to make gigantic statues of elephants, apart from statues of her political guru and even of her own. Surely, it is time for Mayawati to be questioned. Eight scams have been traced so far, involving NOIDA plot allotment (Rs 5,000 crore) and MNREGA irregularities. Hopefully she will not be let off easily on grounds that she is a Dalit. She has gotten away with far too many things in the past. The entire political system deserves to be cleaned up once and for all and the plunder in Uttar Pradesh, reported in The Hitavada (May 18) needs to be handled in a way that is seen that not only justice prevails, but is seen to prevail.”