The Andhra Pradesh High Court on Wednesday set aside suspended Special CBI judge T Pattabhirama Rao’s order granting conditional bail, allegedly for a bribe, to former Karnataka minister and accused in the Obulapuram Mining Company (OMC) scam, Gali Janardhan Reddy.
Mr. Rao, who was the First Additional Special Judge for CBI cases in Hyderabad had granted conditional bail on May 11 to the mining baron while rejecting the bail to suspended IAS officer Y Srilakshmi, another accused in the OMC case.
Following CBI’s appeal expressing apprehensions that Mr. Reddy could influence and threaten the witnesses and tamper with the evidences, the High Court on May 23 had cancelled Mr. Reddy’s bail.
The high court on May 31 suspended Mr. Rao amid allegations of illegal gratification and corruption against him. The judge was accused of granting bail to Reddy for a bribe.
While setting aside the bail orders issued by Mr. Rao, the high court on Wednesday said that Mr. Reddy has the liberty to approach the lower court (special CBI court) again to seek bail.
On a tip off that a deal has been struck between Mr. Reddy and the judge, the central agency recovered a cash of nearly Rs 1. 80 crore from a bank locker here, the keys of which were allegedly in possession of Mr. Rao’s son.
The matter was subsequently referred to the state Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) which on Saturday last registered a case against Mr. Rao and seven others under relevant sections of Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Prevention of Corruption Act.
Mr. Janardhan Reddy and his brother-in-law B V Srinivas Reddy, who is managing director of the OMC, were arrested on September 5, 2011 from Bellary in Karnataka and brought to Hyderabad. The CBI had filed a chargesheet against Reddys and three others in December last.
Mr. Reddy is currently lodged in Bangalore central prison in connection with another mining case allegedly involving Associated Mining Corporation (AMC) and Deccan Mining Syndicate (DMS) owned by him and his wife Aruna Lakshmi.
OMC is accused of changing mining lease boundary markings between Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka and indulging in illegal mining in the Bellary Reserve Forest areas, spread between Bellary district of Karnataka and Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh.