Retired judge used services of former attender to carry bags containing bribe money

The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) informed a court here on Friday that retired district judge T.V. Chalapathi Rao, who was arrested recently in the cash-for-bail scam, continued to employ the services of his official attender even after his retirement on December 31 last year.

Seeking five-day police custody of Chalapathi Rao and suspended judge T. Pattabhirama Rao’s son, Ravichandra, for further interrogation, the ACB said the attender, G. Ravishanker, was made to carry the bags containing the bribe amount to the bank for depositing in lockers and for delivery to Chalapathi Rao’s brother at his office.

Made to wait outside

Ravishanker saw Chalapathi Rao keeping the money in lockers but was made to wait outside when the latter went to his brother’s office with another bag, the public prosecutor of ACB, H. Venkatesh, said. Rao retired as a judge of the tribunal for industrial proceedings at Chandra Vihar complex here.

He added that a sum of Rs. 2.74 crore was handed over to Chalapathi Rao by former Karnataka Minister Gali Janardhan Reddy’s relatives on May 12, the day after bail was granted to Reddy. Unable to safeguard the money, Chalapathi Rao rented five lockers of a bank at Ashok Nagar. He put Rs. 1.60 crore in these lockers on May 12 and May 22 and left the custody of the remaining amount to his brother.

While Chalapathi Rao retained two lockers, he gave up the other three in favour of Ravichandra. The keys of the three lockers were recovered by CBI, which initially investigated the case, from the house of Ravichandra.

Evidence cited

Mr. Venkatesh sought the police custody of the two accused as there was overwhelming evidence about their role in the crime.

Chalapathi Rao’s counsel, T. Vivek Vardhan Reddy, argued that it was normal for retired judges to seek the assistance of their erstwhile attenders whenever required. Whether money bags were moved was a matter of trial.

Mr. Reddy said the Rs. 1.14 crore in the custody of Chalapathi Rao’s brother constituted proceeds from the sale of land. Ravichandra’s advocate, M. Vijaya Kanth, said there was no case against his client, barring possession of locker keys.