The CBI on Thursday called Andhra Pradesh Minister for Information Technology,Communications,and Endowments Ponnala Lakshmaiah for questioning in connection with the ongoing investigation into alleged illegal assets amassed by Kadapa MP Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy. The agency has lined up three other ministers for questioning later this week.
Tech-savvy Ponnala was the Major Irrigation minister in the YSR regime when he allegedly issued Government Orders (GOs) to supply huge quantities of water from river Krishna to three cement companies by overlooking rules and guidelines. In return,the cement companies allegedly invested crores in Jagans firms by way of purchasing shares of Rs 10 at a premium of over Rs 300 each.
Ponnala is the third minister,who also served in YSRs Cabinet,to be called for questioning by the CBI in connection with issuing of GOs which favoured a few companies which,in turn,invested in Jagans companies. Mopidevi Venkataramana Rao,who was Excise and Prohibition minister,was arrested by CBI on May 25 over GOs issued favouring industrialist Nimmagadda Prasad for setting up the Vadarevu and Nizampatnam Port and Industrial Corridor.
Prasad has been arrested by the CBI. The CBI also called Home Minister Sabita Indra Reddy,who was minister for Mines in the YSR government,for questioning over GOs issued in favour of Obulapuram Mining Company,but she was let off after a few hours of questioning.
The CBI may call other ministers who served in the YSR Cabinet for questioning in connection with GOs that allegedly helped companies and individuals get permits,licences or land,and they,in turn,returned the favour by investing in Jagans firms.
On March 17,the Supreme Court had issued notices to six ministers and eight IAS officers seeking explanations about their alleged role in issuing 24 GOs that ultimately benefited Jagan. The other three ministers are J Geeta Reddy,Dharmana Prasada Rao,and Kanna Lakshminarayana.
Meanwhile,the CBI questioned Jagan for the fifth day on Thursday. He was then sent back to Chanchalguda Jail as the five-day CBI custody period expired in the evening. He will be in judicial custody till June 11.