VIJAYAWADA: It is official. The confrontation between the Andhra Pradesh government and the High Court has now snowballed into an open war. Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy has written a letter to the Chief Justice of India (CJI) SA Bobde apprising him of the recent happenings in the High Court in particular reference to the alleged intervention of sitting Supreme Court judge Justice NV Ramana to protect the interests of Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and its chief N Chandrababu Naidu. He urged the CJI to look into the material placed before him and consider initiating steps as may be considered fit to ensure the State judiciary’s neutrality is maintained.
Revealing this at a press meet late Saturday evening, Principal Advisor to the CM Ajeya Kallam said the government placed material before the Chief Justice of India pinpointing instances of Justice Ramana’s proximity to Naidu, his interventions to help TDP, and his acts of judicial impropriety when he served as judge of the High Court in Hyderabad.
This is perhaps the first time that a Chief Minister has written to the CJI against a Supreme Court judge and the Chief Justice and judges of a High Court. Clarifying that the government’s effort is only to sensitise the SC about the acts of a few judges of the High Court, Kallam said the CM’s letter itself indicates the enormous respect he and his government have towards the judiciary.
However, the letter itself is nothing less than explosive. The Chief Minister explained at length to the CJI that there were various complaints about the “acts of malfeasance” of Naidu and his close associates and as such, his government, elected with a massive mandate, was well within its constitutional rights to scrutinise the erstwhile TDP government’s misdeeds.
Narrating the sequence of events, he said a Cabinet Sub-committee, formed to examine the TDP regime’s decisions, found that Naidu and others had amassed huge wealth through illegal means, including illegal transactions of purchase of approximately 4,000 acres. The report was endorsed by the Assembly and the government urged the Centre to order a CBI probe, he recalled, adding it was done so to avoid allegations of political vendetta by the TDP. From hereon, in his letter, Jagan underscored the role of Justice Ramana and said it was his painful duty to place on record that during the course of enquiries by the Cabinet Sub-Committee and later, various questionable transactions in Amaravati have come to light.
The transactions, Jagan pointed out, took place in the interregnum period between Naidu’s swearingin as CM and public announcement of the capital location in Amaravati. After giving a detailed account of the transactions, the Chief Minister explained how the High Court has stayed through an interim order “further proceedings arising from the Cabinet Sub-Committee report, even after being apprised that the matter is before the Union of India.”
Besides, he also brought to the CJI’s notice how the High Court Chief Justice Maheswari had stayed further probe on an FIR filed by the Anti-Corruption Bureau against former Advocate General Dammalapati Srinivas and 12 others in the Amaravati scam and even gagged the media from reporting on the contents of the FIR. Alleging that Justice Ramana’s proximity to Naidu is too wellknown, he cited former Supreme Court judge Justice Chelameswar who “placed this fact on record with evidence.”
Elaborating on the alleged manipulation of the High Court, Jagan said sittings of the high court including the roster of a few judges were being influenced on important matters relating to the TDP. The Chief Minister enclosed a detailed annexure to the letter explaining the same citing specific instances.