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As the Andhra Pradesh high court dashed Jaganmohan Reddy hopes by rejecting his statutory bail petition in connection with his alleged disproportionate assets case, YSR Congress party president YS Jaganmohan Reddy would have to stay away from Christmas celebrations.

Justice B Seshasayana Reddy, who reserved his judgment on Thursday last after prolonged hearings, dismissed the bail petition of Jagan, who had contended that the CBI had not filed a charge-sheet within the prescribed time of 90 days and hence he deserved the bail.

The CBI argued that the issue of statutory bail was argued at length in Supreme Court and he could not raise the issue again. It said Jagan had been arrested in connection with the quid pro quo deal with the VANPIC project promoters and not yet in other aspects. The agency reminded that it had not sought the extension of his judicial custody after August 14 and hence granting bail under Section 167 could not be considered.

The judge agreed with the contention of the CBI that granting bail at this stage of pending investigation would not only impede the investigation, but also infringe the avowed purpose set out by the Supreme Court in its order.  He further posted hearings on Jagan’s petition for a regular bail to December 26.

The high court’s decision came as a big setback to Jagan’s family which was hoping that he would among the family members for Christmas celebrations. His sister Sharmila, who had to suspend her marathon padyatra due to a torn ligament, is already back in Hyderabad along with her evangelist husband Anil Kumar. “It is for the first time that Jagan will be missing in the family to celebrate Christmas. It is really a terrible feeling for the family,” a YSR Congress party leader observed.

Jagan, who was arrested on May 27 this year by CBI on corruption charges, is presently under judicial remand at the Chanchalguda jail.

Interestingly, former minister for excise Mopidevi Venkataramana who had also been in the same jail in connection with the Jagan’s case, was granted conditional bail on Monday to enable him to visit Ayyappa temple at Sabarimalai in Kerala. He was asked to report back to the court on January 3.

Meanwhile, the YSR Congress party leaders have launched a massive campaign of collecting one crore signatures demanding release of Jagan, as part of their strategy to mobilise public support to the party.

According to party leaders, a representation with one crore signatures of people of various sections, would be submitted to President of India Pranab Mukherjee, who would be coming to Andhra Pradesh on December 27.  Former MP and and party’s ST wing chairman Ravindra Naik affixed the first signature on the petition followed by others.  “The people are anguished over the way Jagan was implicated in false cases and has been kept in jail for the last 200 days. The CBI is making every effort to show that Jagan is a culprit. We strongly condemn this conspiracy,” the party leaders said in a statement.

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