The axe has finally fallen on Jagan Mohan Reddy’s financial and media muscle. The CBI has today frozen bank accounts of Jagathi Publications (publishers of Sakshi daily), Indira Television Pvt Ltd (Sakshi TV) and Janani Infra.
The CBI’s move comes in the wake of its chargesheet that these three companies benefited in quid pro quo cases. The action was taken under CRPC section 102. Following the notice by CBI, the accounts of these companies in SBI and OBC banks stand frozen.
Stung by the unexpected move, Sakshi management called as ‘vendetta’. It also dubbed the action as an ‘assault on the freedom of the press’. They alleged that the action was taken without even issuing notices to the companies concerned.
A statement in the name of Jagan, who was campaigning in Rayadurg in Anatapur, said that he hadexpected that such an ‘undemocratic’ action would be initiated by CBI in order to muffle the popular voice.
Prof Nageshwar, speaking on Sakshi TV demanded that the CBI and the government should ensure that the paper and the TV channel will have no problem in continuing their day-to-day operations. ABK Prasad, a strong supporter of Jagan, also condemned the CBI action.
Sakshi management issued a statement in the name of Dileep Reddy, managing editor, that the paper and the TV will continue to operate as usual despite the CBI restrictions. He also said that the management will approach Press Council of Indian against the CBI action.
The CBI decision will have far-reaching repercussions on Jagan’s political future too. Though it is early days to suggest that the media outlets of Jagan will shut down as a result of the freeze, the action will certainly dampen the spirits of the party as well as the employees.
Jagan has been able to make an impact and continues to influence large sections of people because of the might of his media. Launched with large investments, the print and electronic outlets haveplayed a key role in shaping public opinion in favour of Jagan.
It would be doubtful if Jagan would have the same advantage without the help of his media houses. Meanwhile, how long will Jagan be able to run his paper and TV channel without financial constraints is anybody’s guess.