New Delhi/Hyderabad: The Enforcement Directorate on Thursday issued attachment orders on properties worth Rs 51 crore in its money laundering probe against YSR Congress chief Jagan Mohan Reddy and his associates.
The agency, which has questioned Jagan extensively in the past few months, has attached more than 13 acres of land of Ms Janani Infrastructure Private Limited and fixed deposits worth Rs 14.50 crore of Ms Jagati Publication Limited as "kickbacks allegedly received in lieu of granting favours" to private entities. Both the companies are owned by Jagan.
The MP is at present lodged in the Chenchalguda central prison in the state capital under the judicial custody of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) which is probing him and others in an alleged corruption and cheating case during the reign of his father and the then Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy.
The attachment order, issued under the stringent provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), was also against private companies which were "illegally benefited as a result of criminal activity" and illegal sanctions granted during the tenure of YS Rajasekhara Reddy.
The other properties attached by the agency are 35 acres of land and fixed deposit of Rs 3 crore of Ms Hetero Drugs Limited, 96 acres of land of Ms APL Research Centre Limited, a 100 per cent subsidiary of Ms Aurobindo Pharma Limited, and fixed deposit of Rs 3 crore of Aurobindo Pharma.
The properties of these firms have been attached as the agency alleges that these companies received illegal favours from the then Andhra Pradesh government.
The ED attachment ensures that these properties cannot be used by the accused and he is devoid of any benefits from these assets, and such an order can be challenged by the accused at the adjudicating authority of the PMLA.
The ED, in its order, said during the probe it was revealed that "as a result of the criminal activity, Ms Hetero Drugs Limited and Ms Aurobindo Pharma Limited were illegally benefited by Rs 8.60 crore each in the allotment of 75 acres of land to each of them by the state government of Andhra Pradesh while Ms Trident Life Sciences Limited was illegally benefited by Rs 4.30 crore in the allotment of 30.33 acre land".
These allotments of lands were done "illegally by the state government at a lower rate than the rate fixed by the price fixation committee", the agency said.
The ED found that "in return of this favour, a sum of Rs 14.50 crore was paid to Ms Jagati Publications Limited and Rs 15 crore was paid to Ms Janani Infrastructure Private Limited (the companies owned and controlled by Jagan Mohan Reddy).
"These payments to the companies of Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy were made in the form of equity contribution which was in fact kickback for the favours done by the state government," the agency alleged.
The ED began its probe against the young politician and his associates on the basis of the CBI FIR which stated that since "May 2004 Jagan floated number of companies wherein quid pro quo investments have been made by the beneficiaries from the decisions of the state government in various forms like SEZs, irrigation contracts, relaxation/permission for real estate ventures, mines among others".
The CBI has already filed a charge sheet in this case at a special court in Hyderabad.
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