Amaravathi: In an unprecedented move, Andhra Pradesh chief minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy has written to Chief Justice of India SA Bobde, alleging that Justice NV Ramana — next in line to be the CJI — “has been influencing the sittings of the (Andhra Pradesh) High Court including the roster of a few Honourable Judges”.

The chief minister’s eight-page letter refers to Justice Ramana’s alleged “proximity” to TDP leader and former chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu, and an Anti-Corruption Bureau investigation into “questionable transactions of land” involving two daughters of Justice Ramana and others in Amaravati, before it was declared the site for the new capital of the state.

Reddy spelt out his allegations, perhaps the first time in the republic’s history that a chief minister has formally accused a sitting member of the higher judiciary of political bias and even corruption.

The move comes days after Reddy met with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on October 6, and with Union home minister Amit Shah a few days earlier.

On Saturday evening (October 10), the Andhra Pradesh government called a press meet, amid much anticipation. After a long wait filled with speculation over the speaker and subject of the conference, CM Jagan’s Principal Advisor Ajeya Kallam appeared briefly, sharing the letter and other ‘supporting evidence’ with the media.

Jagan has referred to a recent order passed by Andhra Pradesh Chief Justice JK Maheshwari, staying the investigation into a case of alleged corruption where several persons, including Justice Ramana's daughters were accused of abusing their official position to buy land in Amaravati, having had prior knowledge of its capital status before it was made public. The high court also issued an injunction against any reporting by the media on the contents of the First Information Report (FIR).

The YSRCP has urged the Union government to order an investigation by the CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) into the alleged land scam in the Amaravati capital region. The YSRCP has repeatedly alleged that the previous TDP government had resorted to insider trading to benefit TDP chief and former CM Chandrababu Naidu and his associates. YSRCP has alleged that information about Amaravati being chosen as the capital location was leaked by those in power before it was publicly announced, and that those who were privy to the information had purchased land in and around Amaravati at throwaway prices in the names of their aides.

In his letter, Jagan has alleged a “nexus” between Justice Ramana, the TDP and certain judges of the Andhra Pradesh High Court. He has also accused him of influencing the HC's roster and thereby the outcome of many cases.

Jagan's 8-page letter to CJI

In his letter the Andhra CM has alleged the following:

·         “With a sense of pain and anguish at the politicisation of institutions personally monitored by Sri N. Chandrababu Naidu through honourable sitting Judges of Supreme Court, facts would clearly demonstrate that the august institution of the High Court is being used to destabilize and topple the democratically elected Government of the State of AP with indelible trail leading back to the overt and covert actions of Sri N Chandrababu Naidu through Honourable Sri Justice NV Ramana."

·         "Justice NV Ramana has been influencing sittings of the High Court including the roster of a few Honourable Judges and instances of how matters important to Telegu Desam Party have been allocated to few Honourable judges are enclosed in the annexure along with copies of orders passed. The above clearly demonstrates the nexus of Sri Justice NV Ramana, TDP, and few Honourable judges of the High Court."

·         “Justice Ramana's proximity to Chandrababu Naidu is well known. I am making this statement with utmost responsibility. I may only bring it to your notice that a former judge of the honourable Supreme Court, Justice Chelameswar, placed this fact on record with EVIDENCE."

Jagan's letter to the CJI has been given to the media notably after his recent meetings with the Prime Minister and Home Minister.