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A tainted man, throwing ink at the top judiciary

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Recently Y. S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, wrote a letter dated 06.10.2020 to the Hon’ble Chief Justice of India, S. A. Bobde, alleging that some High Court judges are attempting to protect the interests of the major opposition party, Telugu Desam Party, in politically sensitive matters. For the first time in the republic’s history that a chief minister has formally accused a sitting member of the higher judiciary of political bias and even corruption. He further claims that the Supreme Court judge “has been influencing the sittings of the high court including the roster of a few Honourable Judges”.

By J. Gopikrishnan

Leaking of such letter to the media is clearly an attempt to threaten and intimidate the judiciary and has held the judiciary to ransom. It seems there are more insidious ways to intimidate the judiciary. It was a deliberate attempt to scandalize the judiciary. It is an attempt to overreach judiciary which needs to be dealt with utmost priority. His actions were highly contemptuous and an attempt at overawing the judiciary. The letter by Reddy and his subsequent press conference is a blatant attempt to shake the confidence of the public at large in the judiciary. The letter was released in public domain to “intimidate judicial proceedings” against Reddy.

It may be noted that Y. S. Jagan Mohan Reddy is himself a man of tainted image having number of investigation and cases pending against him in different Courts of law pertaining to money laundering, assault, criminal intimidation, defamation, mischief, criminal breach of trust, cheating, forgery, corruption, illegal gratification, rioting and criminal conspiracy etc. It may be noted that the offences are very serious in nature and specially when the person against whom the charges are leveled holds a high public post such as of a Chief Minister of a State. The dignity and the constitutionalism required to hold such high Office is clearly lacking in the conduct of the Chief Minister.

Reddy is playing an age-old strategy of being victimized, such strategy is often used in the political battlefield, however the same may not be applicable as against the judiciary. Unlike executive, judiciary is the weakest branch to have acted against the executive head of a State. The inherent framework of judiciary having multiple forms and appeals cut across all such claims. There is no doubt that the Chief Minister is accused in numerous cases and is presently out on bail. Since 2011 onwards, he has ensured that these cases do not proceed. It is also relevant to point out that the Hon’ble Supreme Court’s J. Ramana bench has asked the Chief Justices of High Courts to head Special Benches and immediately hear long-pending criminal cases against sitting and former legislators.

It is completely strange that even after the Supreme Court headed by Justice N V Ramana, had insisted to provide complete list of cases pending against all MPs and MLAs, State of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh had failed to do so. Only after much insistence of the Court that such data was submitted. As per report submitted before the Hon’ble SC, it was observed that 17 cases against the Chief Minister, Shri Y. S. Jaganmohan Reddy are pending, without any substantial progress. Many of these cases are still at the stage of framing charges.

In the wake of the Supreme Court’s direction to the chief justices of high courts to adjudicate over 4,000 criminal cases pending against sitting and former lawmakers, the Telangana high court directed the CBI special court handling Jagan’s disproportionate assets cases to complete its work at the earliest. 

The CBI had in 2012 filed charges against Reddy, accusing him of amassing more than Rs 1 lakh crore of wealth by misusing the office of his late father, Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, who was then the CM of undivided AP. The Enforcement Directorate has attached properties to the tune of hundreds of crore of Jagan Reddy and his associates. In March 2013, the Enforcement Directorate has attached properties worth Rs. 863 crore allegedly belonging to YSR Congress party president Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy, industrialist Nimmagadda Prasad and their companies as proceeds of crime under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. During the first exercise the ED had attached 1,775 crore worth of property while in June 2016, properties worth Rs 749 crore had been attached. The total value of the properties attached is Rs 2,524 crore. The properties that have been attached include Bharathi Cements, Sandur Power Project, 903-acre land in Guntur, Jagan’s Lotus Pond residence in Jubilee Hills, Sakshi Towers in Banjara Hills and land in Hakimpet. Shares and fixed deposits too have been seized by the ED. Apart from it, in July 2017, ED had attached assets worth over Rs 148 crore of Reddy in July for illegally allotting 11,804.78 acres of land to companies of Nimmagadda Prasad in Prakasam and Guntur districts of Andhra Pradesh and in January 2018, the ED has attached movable and immovable assets worth Rs 117.74 crore under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act of companies of I Syam Prasad Reddy, Indu Projects, Embassy Property Developments and Vasantha Projects in the the Indu-APHB case related to Y S Jaganmohan Reddy.

Reddy was arrested in May 2012 and released on bail 16 months later in September 2013.  

As per the election affidavit, 2019 filed by Y. S. Jagan Mohan Reddy during the State Elections there are 31 criminal cases pending against him. It may also be noted that the movable assets held by him are worth whooping Rs. 339,89,43,352/- and that of his wife and children are more than Rs. 100 Cr. He has immobile properties of more than Rs. 35 Cr. and that of his wife are more than Rs. 31 Cr.

The details of the cases pending against Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy are as under:
1. Cases in which charges sheets have been filed and cognizance has been taken against him.
Sl No. FIR/Case No. Sections/offences Details
1. C.C.No. 33 of 2018
Judge Spl. Court For Trail of Cases Relating to Elected MPs and MLAs Vijayawada Cum VIII Addl. District and Session Judge Cum V Addl. Metropolitan Session Judge, Vijayawada Krishna District 499, 500, 501, 502, 34 IPC 
2. ECIR No. 09/HZO/2011, Police Station Directorate of Enforcement Hyderabad
SC No. 2 of 2018
The Court of Principal Special Judge for CBI Cases Hyderabad Section 4 R/W Section 3 of Prevention of Money Laundering Act. 2002 
3. ECIR No. 09/HZO/2011, Police Station Directorate of Enforcement Hyderabad
SC No. 1 of 2018
The Court of Principal Special Judge for CBI Cases Hyderabad Section 4 R/W Section 3 of Prevention of Money Laundering Act. 2002 
4. ECIR No. 09/HZO/2011, Police Station Directorate of Enforcement Hyderabad
SC No. 2 of 2017
The Court of Principal Special Judge for CBI Cases Hyderabad Section 4 R/W Section 3 of Prevention of Money Laundering Act. 2002 
5. ECIR No. 09/HZO/2011, Police Station Directorate of Enforcement Hyderabad
SC No. 2 of 2016
The Court of Principal Special Judge for CBI Cases Hyderabad Section 4 R/W Section 3 of Prevention of Money Laundering Act. 2002 
6. ECIR No. 09/HZO/2011, Police Station Directorate of Enforcement Hyderabad
SC No. 106 of 2015, New Case No. SC No. 1 of 2016
The Court of Metropolitan Session Judge, Nampally Hyderabad, The Court of Principal Special Judge for CBI Cases Hyderabad Section 3, 4, & 8(5) of Prevention of Money Laundering Act. 
7. FIR No. 146 of 2014, Police Station Kodada Police Station Nalgonda District Telangana
C.C.No. 377 of 2014
The Court of the Principal Judicial First Class Magistrate Kodad 188, 341 IPC r/w S. 30 of Police Act, 1861 
8. R.C. No. 19(A) of 2011, CBI/HYD Police Station CBI ACB Hyderabad
C.C. No. 26 of 2014 120B, 420, 409 IPC r/w
Sec 11, 13(2) R/W 13 (1))C) & (D) of Prevention of Corruption Act. 1988 
9. R.C. No. 19(A) of 2011, CBI/HYD Police Station CBI, ACB, Hyderabad
C.C. No. 28 of 2013
The Court of Honorable Principal Special Judge for CBI Cases Hyderabad 120B, 420, 468, 471 IPC r/w Sec. 9 of Prevention of Corruption Act., 1988 
10. R.C. 19(A) of 2011, CBI/HYD Police Station CBI, ACB, Hyderabad
C.C. No. 27 of 2013
The Court of Honorable Principal Special Judge for CBI Cases Hyderabad 120B, 420 IPC r/w Sec. 9 of Prevention of Corruption Act., 1988 
11. R.C. 19(A) of 2011, CBI/HYD Police Station CBI, ACB, Hyderabad
C.C. No. 26 of 2013
The Court of Honorable Principal Special Judge for CBI Cases Hyderabad 120B, 420 IPC r/w Sec. 9 of Prevention of Corruption Act., 1988 
12. R.C. 19(A) of 2011, CBI/HYD Police Station CBI, ACB, Hyderabad
C.C. No. 25 of 2013
The Court of Honorable Principal Special Judge for CBI Cases Hyderabad 120B, 420, 107 IPC r/w 13(2) R/W 13(1)(D) Prevention of Corruption Act. 
13. R.C. 19(A) of 2011, CBI/HYD Police Station CBI, ACB, Hyderabad
C.C. No. 24 of 2013
The Court of Honorable Principal Special Judge for CBI Cases Hyderabad 120B, 420, 107 IPC r/w  Sec. 9 & 12 of Prevention of Corruption Act., 1988 
14. R.C. 19(A) of 2011, CBI/HYD Police Station CBI, ACB, Hyderabad
C.C. No. 12 of 2013
The Court of Honorable Principal Special Judge for CBI Cases Hyderabad 120B, 420, 107 IPC r/w  Sec. 9 of Prevention of Corruption Act., 1988 
15. R.C. No. 19(A) of 2011 – CBI/HYD Police Station CBI, ACB, Hyderabad
C.C. No. 14 of 2012
The Court of Honorable Principal Special Judge for CBI Cases Hyderabad 120B, 420, 409 IPC r/w Sec. 9 & 12 of Prevention of Corruption Act. Arrested in May 2012 and released on bail in September 2013. The allegations of illegal wealth is to the tune of one lakh crore.
16. R.C. No. 19(A) of 2011 – CBI/HYD Police Station CBI, ACB, Hyderabad
C.C. No. 10 of 2012
The Court of Honorable Principal Special Judge for CBI Cases Hyderabad 120B, 420, 471 IPC r/w   Sec. 9 & 12 of Prevention of Corruption Act. 
17. R.C. No. 19(A) of 2011 – CBI/HYD Police Station CBI, ACB, Hyderabad
C.C. No. 9 of 2012
The Court of Honorable Principal Special Judge for CBI Cases Hyderabad 120B, 420, 471 IPC 
18. R.C. No. 19(A) of 2011 – CBI/HYD Police Station CBI, ACB, Hyderabad
C.C. No. 8 of 2012
The Court of Honorable Principal Special Judge for CBI Cases Hyderabad 120B, 420 IPC r/w Section 12 R/W 11 of Prevention of Corruption Act. 
19. ECIR No.09/HZO/2011 Police Station Directorate of Enforcement Hyderabad
SC No.92/2016
Metropolitan Sessions Judge, Nampally Hyderabad Section 3 & 4 & 8(5) of Prevention of Money Laundering Act. 

2. Cases against him where charge sheet is yet to be filed or cognizance is yet to be taken:
Sl No. FIR No. Sections Details
1. FIR No:57/2017, Police Station Nandigama Krishna District AP 353, 506, 34 IPC No cognizance taken yet.
2. FIR No. 64/2016, Police Station Mangalagiri (R) Guntur Urban 425, 427, 505(ii), 24 IPC No cognizance taken yet.
3. FIR No. 63/2016, Police Station Mangalagiri (R) Guntur Urban 425, 427, 505(ii), 24 IPC No cognizance taken yet.
4. FIR No. 62/2016, Police Station Mangalagiri (R) Guntur Urban 425, 427, 505(ii), 24 IPC No cognizance taken yet.
5. FIR No. 61/2016, Police Station Mangalagiri (R) Guntur Urban 425, 427, 505(ii), 24 IPC No cognizance taken yet.
6. FIR No. 60/2016, Police Station Mangalagiri (R) Guntur Urban 425, 427, 505(ii), 24 IPC No cognizance taken yet.
7. FIR No. 59/2016, Police Station Mangalagiri (R) Guntur Urban 425, 427, 505(ii), 24 IPC No cognizance taken yet.
8. FIR No. 58/2016, Police Station Mangalagiri (R) Guntur Urban 425, 427, 505(ii), 24 IPC No cognizance taken yet.
9. FIR No. 45/2016, Police Station Ponnur Rural Guntur 500, 501 IPC No cognizance taken yet.
10. FIR No. 861/2013, Police Station Saroor Nagar Cyberabad Hyderabad
The Court of Principal Special Judge for CBI Cases Hyderabad. Section 3 of Prevention of Insults to Honour Act., 1971, No cognizance taken yet.
11. FIR No. 137/2011, Police Station Pulivendula YSR District 147, 148, 114, 186, 188, 440, 286, 283, 353, 341, 290, 342, 427, 506 IPC r/w Section 7(1) of Criminal Law Amendment Act., 1932 & Section 3 of Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act. 1984, Charge Sheet not filed.
12. ECIR No. 09/HZO/2011, Police Station Directorate of Enforcement Hyderabad
The Court of Honorable Principal Special Judge for CBI Cases Hyderabad 120B, 420, 409, 477 IPC r/w Section 13(2) Read with Section 13(1)(C)&(D) of Prevention of Corruption Act. 1988 with Section 4 Read with Section 3 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. 2002. Charge Sheet yet to be filed.

Recently the CBI Court has also ordered Reddy to appear before the Court every week. It was seen that more than 6 years have lapsed from filing of charge sheets, however, the trial is yet to start which clearly indicates that the accused has been able to procrastinate the proceedings on one pretext or other. Since the trial against Jagan is on the verge of completion before the special CBI court in Hyderabad, the timing of the letter suggests there is more to it than meets the eye. If he is convicted, he can be disqualified from contesting elections for a period of 6 years from the date when the actual sentence ends, thereby meaning that his political career may be put to an end which has resulted in the present unprecedented situation.  

We are reminded of former Karnataka Minister Gali Janardhan Reddy, prime accused in illegal mining scam, who was caught paying of the trail court judge for favorable orders. As the judges in Andhra Pradesh are not pliable to his whims and fancies, the Chief Minister has realized that intimidation was the only resort to keep his ever sinking ship afloat. Such attempts amounts to breach independence of judiciary by trying to browbeat them to a state of genuflection is unpardonable treason.

His letter is double edged, that if orders are passed as desired in his favour he would stand vindicated or else he can go the public that Supreme Court is also against him. Further Reddy had “orchestrated attacks” on the judiciary through the Assembly Speaker, ministers and legislators in his government, so as to lower public confidence in the judicial institution. His letter is just another form of frontal attack, as his earlier clandestine efforts to malign the judges through social media has been ordered to be investigated by CBI. It is relevant to observe some of social media posts by Chief Minister’s men:

Chendu Reddy’s tweet

Chendu Reddy’s tweet that ‘All judges shall be cut into pieces,’ and ‘All judges shall be kept in a room and a corona-positive patient should be left with them.’

Such attempts foretell a disastrous future wherein Court is rendered fragile by certain elements, who are bent upon destroying this democracy for their personal vendetta. As Justice O’Connor has warned, “in these challenging and difficult times, we must recommit ourselves to maintaining the independent judiciary that the Framers sought to establish.” Because of the inextricable link between independent judges, the rule of law, and democracy, threats to judicial independence necessarily threaten our democratic system. If we do not allow judges to function independently then we are digging graves for our beloved democracy!

The author is a Senior Journalist

J. Gopikrishnan
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27 COMMENTS

  1. I feel, This should a paid article and People know the reality. Simply biased article. The same is being seen in AP news channels.

  2. Look at the maturity of this Author of this article.He has not taken the balanced approach which is visible in coming up with a title like tainted man.He should have evaluated the content of the complaint in a neutral fashion before giving judgement.

  3. Shame on you to provide half truths and making allegations on elected Chief Minister of a State. This is the kind of yellow propaganda which we see daily in AP and we know its a paid story. Why can’t you list Babu-Ramana deals from 1990 and how AP high court is full of one caste people or influenced by them? How can you miss writing about TDP, Yellow media and few AP Food court chefs destroying and looting AP. List pending cases against Babu and how they are getting listed from past 15 years? As a journalist (if ur) you might have known about “A caste captures AP Judiciary” by Judge BSA Swamy of AP high court, there are few pages dedicated to your favourite persons.

  4. Hope to read your stance on independence of judiciary after 2014 (you can take case studies of retired CJIs being appointed as governor or being nominated to house of parliament).

    – Azad

  5. A very special piece of prose in brevity but rendering complete clarity of the subject.
    How come Mr.J. Gopala Krishna does not write in the National print media.
    He reminds me of the stalwarts of yesteryears….

  6. what a useless crap of article? How can you tag the one posted on twitter to CM, you stated as CM’s man?. Any tom dick harry can create a profile, put your picture and start posting some rant. Have some decency and journalistic values

  7. Very bold and informative article. Hope the judiciary rise to the occasion and survive the political mafia onslaught ! In Andhra Pradesh people who oppose Govt decisions in social media and other medium are being jailed and threatened. When the Hugh court asked to investigate the social media posts against the judges the Govt and police machinery stayed silent thereby forcing the high court to pass the case to CBI . We need to protect the great democracy our country has and judiciary is the main pillar in that !!

  8. It’s wrong to say the letter was leaked. It was released publicly. Let the Supreme Court punish the wrong whoever he/she is.Du

  9. The article seems away from truth. The allegations mentioned are same by opponents. They are in circulation for the last 10 years even then Mr. Reddy choosen by AP people with highest seats and highest voting percentage in the history of AP.assembly.
    Mr.Reddy is a revolutionary, visionary, dynamic, daring,young Chief Minister. What Mr Reddy mentioned in his letter are true.if that letter is not kept in the public domain its fate is dustbin.

  10. But what are the compelling reasons for CJI not looking into the charges and deciding it . It charges are false take action against CM . The letter has been written by a constitutional functionary. No body is arguing whether it is right or wrong . Let’s accept the fact that there are cases of judicial corruption. May read Mr Dushyant Dave’s interview in The New Indian Express dared 18th Oct 2020

  11. Constitution was written very long back. In those times, people are very genuine and had morals. Now a days, so many social changes came. Human tendencies are changed. India, being a democratic country, everyone leads their lives in a democratic shelter. Judiciary is concerned, democratic approach is nor observed in all aspects. In all most all cases, we can go for appeal on all judgements. In the appeals, major cases are being dismissed in the next courts. In the further appeals, the same dismissed judgments are again being allowed. All judgements are not final judgments. I feel, the present judiciary system, should totally changed. How much time is taking to get final judgments?. A person, who is involved in court litigation, has to run to the courts nearly 20 years. How much time it will take to give final judgements to all the present existing pending cases, is a million dollars question. There should be a new policy in the judiciary system. In democratic country, there is no democratic approach in the judiciary system. So, in future, so many cases may come like this Jagan Mohan Reddy case in the judiciary system of India. I feel that the judiciary system in the year 1950’s to 1970’s, is totally different and at present, 2020’s, is diffrent. So, as per the present social changes, judiciary system also totally changed. One, who questioned the wrong judgements, can’t be victimized. It should be examined in depth and come to a final conclusion. Changes are inevitable. Let us try to change the present judiciary system and see that everyone should be happy.

  12. This looks a venting competition instead of discussing about the actual letter. I think author got this draft from Telugu Desam lobby. They are very strong in media Hyderabad or Delhi. Yes Jagan has cases on him and eight out of eleven cases are already cleared. Don’t be foolish and until proven guilty he is still innocent. If any person raised his voices against anything then do you shut their mouth with their wrong doings. Fine, if you are looking for intentions does that mean judiciary is so weak or has bias over people who raise voice? I see illogical derivations here. Clearly trying to create a negative opinion in people with a stupid logical argument.

    The main deal in the letter is about transparency and accountability on judges in judiciary. Jagans letter did not talked about total judiciary system rather few politically motivated judges who are obstructing progress of the state. Not only politically motivated but also corrupt and biased.

    If you have guts please try to write your opinion on that instead nonsense material. I can see the same argument from Telugu Desam party website.

  13. Earlier we have heard the Judgement delivered by Honorable SCI on the late TN CM’s disproportionate asset case,it took more than 20 years,we don’t know how many years it will take in Jagan’s case????

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