Disproportionate assets case: AP CM to appear in court

PTI file photo

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy is scheduled to appear in the special court of CBI in Hyderabad on Friday to face the ongoing trial in the disproportionate assets cases against him.

The special court judge on January 3 directed Jagan to appear in person for the trial, rejecting the latter's plea for an exemption.

This will be Jagan's first appearance in court for the trial after he assumed charge as Chief Minister on May 30, 2019. Even prior to that, he did not appear in person for the trial for several months, as he was busy campaigning for the general elections.

The YSR Congress president has been facing trial wherein he was charge-sheeted in at least 11 cases as the prime accused in alleged quid pro quo deals. He is currently out on bail, having spent time in jail as an "un-convicted criminal prisoner" in the Chanchalguda Central Prison from May 2012 to September 2013.

Soon after becoming Chief Minister, Jagan filed a petition in the special court of CBI seeking exemption from personal appearance as he would be busy with official duties. Also, lakhs of rupees of public money has to be spent for his security and other protocol requirements in view of his position, he contended.

On November 1, the court, however, rejected his plea and directed that he appear for trial every Friday.

Though he did not file an appeal in the High Court against the trial court's order, Jagan had not been attending the trial proceedings citing his official engagements as the reason for his absence. Not impressed by this, the special court judge had on January 3 directed that Jagan attend the proceedings on January 10.

Sources said the Chief Minister would return to Amaravati after attending court proceedings on Friday. He would go to Hyderabad again on Saturday afternoon for an overnight stay and see off his two daughters for their foreign destinations on Sunday. On Monday, he is expected to have a formal meeting with his Telangana counterpart K Chandrasekhar Rao to discuss a host of issues related to the two Telugu states, the sources added.

Meanwhile, the opposition Telugu Desam Party said public money should not be spent on Jagan's court appearance as he faced trial in his personal capacity. "The charge-sheets were filed against Jagan in his personal capacity. He was not Chief Minister at that time. So, he should personally bear the expenditure for court appearances," TDP politburo member Varla Ramaiah said in a statement.

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