New Delhi: YSR Congress leader Jagan Mohan Reddy on Friday faced a setback after the Supreme Court refused to stay an Andhra Pradesh High Court order for a preliminary CBI inquiry to ascertain if he owns disproportionate assets.

Staying the order, a bench of Justices Dalveer Bhandari and Deepak Verma dismissed the plea of Jagan calling it ‘baseless’.

The bench, however, directed the High Court to follow the principle of natural justice in case it decides to proceed against Jagan on the basis of the agency's findings.

The Apex Court also said "at this stage" no interference is required into the High Court order as it is only a preliminary inquiry and it can refuse to proceed against Jagan if nothing substantial comes out against him in the probe.

The court also turned down the appeal of senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, who was appearing for Jagan, stating that HC can ask the CBI to complete the probe and that any clean chit to Jagan by the CBI will only improve his image.

Earlier, Rohatgi advocated that the step is a move by the Opposition to tarnish the image of the politician and there is a political rivalry behind this.

Remarkably, Andhra Pradesh High Court had passed the order on a petition by Textiles Minister P Shankar Rao accusing Jagan of amassing huge wealth using his late father's position as the state Chief Minister.

The High Court had said it will decide on the issue of a full-fledged inquiry on the basis of the CBI report after a preliminary probe by the agency.

JPN/Bureau