Jagan backfires on CBI

After quizzing YS Jagan Mohan Reddy for 16 hours over two days, the CBI is said to be none the wiser in connection with his alleged illegal assets.

Saturday’s grilling lasted nearly eight hours and will continue Sunday. But sources said the CBI team learnt little more than what they already knew.

Throughout the day’s proceedings at Dilkusha guest house, the CBI team probed and Jagan parried. In fact, sources said, most of the talking was done by the CBI officials rather than their quarry.

“No new aspect has come to light from Jagan’s grilling. It is only the hype surrounding the questioning that’s been the highlight of the last two days,’ a source said with a tinge of sarcasm.

Jagan stuck to his position that when his father, the late Y S Rajasekhara Reddy, was chief minister, he lived in Bangalore: “I hardly used to come to Hyderabad. There was no question of influencing decisions in the government or threatening businessmen to invest in my companies.”

Amidst his stonewalling, Jagan managed to throw several questions at the CBI officials led by joint director V V Lakshminarayana.

He sought to know why the premium charged by his media company Jagati Publications was being examined while no questions have been asked of a rival newspaper group that had managed to extract a much higher valuation.

When asked about the funds poured into his company by Nimmagadda Prasad, Jagan countered that the investor had ploughed similar monies into another TV channel too, so why wasn’t that being questioned?

He managed to drag TDP president Chandrababu Naidu into the conversation. “It was during his (Naidu’s) chief ministership that the Krishnapatnam and Gangavaram ports came up.

Also, GMR set up operations here then. Why aren’t those deals being questioned? Why are only land allotments to Vanpic being questioned even though there was no loss of government revenue?’ he asked.

Sources said the CBI officials were surprised at the detailed knowledge Jagan seemed to have of the state’s finances.

They said Jagan seemed to have ready replies because he had been prepped for the grilling by his adviser V Vijay Sai Reddy, who has been questioned by CBI 35 times so far.

‘The questions asked of Jagan and Vijay Sai were the same and the replies were the same,’ the source said.

On Sunday, the CBI is likely to confront Jagan with facts learnt from minister Mopidevi Venkataramana.

It is likely that Jagan’s questioning will end on Sunday as he has to present himself before the special CBI court Monday.