An October 6 letter sent by Andhra Pradesh chief minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy to the Chief Justice of India (CJI) S.A. Bobde has sparked off an extraordinary executive versus judiciary conflict. Caught in the cross-fire between Reddy and his predecessor N. Chandrababu Naidu is the next seniormost Supreme Court judge, N.V. Ramana, who, if the tradition continues, is set to succeed Bobde as CJI. The judiciary has been dragged into the bitter Reddy-Naidu rivalry following grave allegations of an enduring nexus between the latter and Ramana, and charges of corruption and judicial impropriety (see Jagan’s Charges Against Ramana).
A state cabinet sub-committee constituted by Jagan Reddy, in keeping with his poll promise to expose the wrongdoings of the Naidu government, alleged in its report on December 27 last year that Naidu had allowed people of influence and those sympathetic to his Telugu Desam Party (TDP) to profiteer from insider information about the state’s proposed capital Amaravati, buying land in the area before it was notified, and selling it later for huge profit. It flagged illegalities on the part of Naidu (the then chief minister), his son Nara Lokesh, then advocate general Dammalapati Srinivas and several others. In February this year, the state government constituted a special investigation team (SIT) to inquire into the charges made in the sub-committee’s report. Even as this was happening, the government registered cases related to the Amaravati land scam under the Andhra Pradesh Assigned Land (Prohibition of Transfer) Act, 1977, to bring to book those who speculated for pecuniary gains.
Some analysts speculate that Jagan’s moves are payback for Naidu embroiling him in a slew of corruption cases dating back to when his father, the late Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy (YSR), was chief minister of undivided Andhra Pradesh. In fact, Naidu had then brought out a book, Raja of Corruption, listing the charges against the father and son, which reportedly became the basis for the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) cases against Jagan. The latter replied with a book of his own in 2019, Emperor of Corruption, enumerating the alleged misdeeds of Naidu and his family. Jagan spent 16 months in jail but he’s not free yet. The CBI court in Hyderabad is still hearing the cases.
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November 02, 2020