Andhra minister arrested in Jagan graft case (Second Lead)

May 24th, 2012 - 3:33 pm ICT by IANS  

Hyderabad, May 24 (IANS) The CBI Thursday arrested Andhra Pradesh Excise Minister Mopidevi Venkataramna in connection with a corruption case related to YSR Congress leader Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy.

Venkataramna, the first minister in the state’s history to be arrested on charges of corruption while in office, was arrested soon after he appeared before them for questioning for a second consecutive day.

A Central Bureau of Investigation official said the minister was arrested at Dilkusha Guest House, the camp office of the investigating agency. He is likely to be produced in court later in the day.

Venkataramna, the fourth accused and first minister to be arrested in the case, was nabbed a day before Jaganmohan Reddy, known as Jagan, is to appear before CBI for questioning.

Venkataramna was minister for infrastructure and investment in the late Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy’s cabinet when certain companies were shown undue favours in return for investments they made in his son Jagan’s businesses.

The CBI has booked the minister for corruption, cheating, criminal conspiracy, criminal breach of trust by public servant, falsification of accounts.

He has been arrested for issuing certain government orders for allotment of lands and other concessions to the Vanpic project in 2008.

He reportedly violated norms and also did not take the opinion of the finance and law departments while issuing government orders allotting 15,000 acres of land in Guntur and Prakasam districts to Vanpic and granting it exemptions under Stamps and Registration Act.

The CBI last week arrested leading industrialist Nimmagadda Prasad and bureaucrat K.V. Brahmananda Reddy.

Prasad, one of the two promoters of Vanpic, allegedly invested over Rs.800 crore in Jagan’s companies in return for the land and other concessions he received under a quid pro quo arrangement.

Venkataramna is likely to be dismissed from the cabinet as he reportedly refused to submit his resignation during his meetings with Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy Wednesday night and again Thursday morning.

The CBI grilled the minister Wednesday. He was questioned along with Prasad and Brahmananda Reddy, then special secretary, infrastructure and investment.

Talking to reporters after meeting the chief minister Thursday morning, the minister said allotments to Vanpic were made as per the cabinet decisions.

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