Hyderabad: A special
court Thursday sent Andhra Pradesh Excise Minister Mopidevi
Venkataramna to judicial custody for 14 days in a case involving
alleged illegal assets of YSR Congress leader Y.S. Jaganmohan
Venkataramna was arrested at the Central Bureau of Investigation
(CBI) camp office soon after he appeared before agency officials
for questioning for a second consecutive day. A CBI official said
the minister was arrested around 1.30 p.m.
Venkataramna, the first minister in the state's history to be
arrested on charges of corruption while in office, was then
produced in a CBI court, which remanded him to judicial custody
till June 7. The court also agreed to the CBI's petition for
five-day custody of the accused.
The minister was later shifted to Dilkusha Guest House, the CBI
camp office where the investigators would question him for five
As the minister's name did not figure in the First Information
Report (FIR) registered in August last year, the CBI filed a memo
before the special court including him as an accused in the case.
Venkataramna, through his aide, sent his resignation to Chief
Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy.
Claiming that he has done no wrong, he wrote that he got entangled
in the case. He said as a true follower of the Congress party, he
signed the government orders on the direction of then chief
minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy.
The fourth accused and first minister to be arrested in the case,
Venkataramna 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
Rajasekhara Reddy government when certain companies were allegedly
shown undue favours in return for investments they made in
businesses of Jagan, the chief minister's son.
The CBI has booked the minister for corruption, cheating, criminal
conspiracy, criminal breach of trust by public servant, and
falsification of accounts.
He has been arrested for issuing certain government orders for
allotment of lands and other concessions to the Vanpic project in
Venkataramna 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.
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.
Following the minister's arrest, his followers in his native
Guntur district attacked a few buses and blockaded roads. Police
arrested some protesters and imposed prohibitory orders in Repalle
The minister's followers have called for a shutdown in Repalle
assembly constituency represented by him.
Various organisations of backward classes condemned Venkataramna's
arrest and alleged that he was being made a scapegoat.