Rejecting the bail plea of the former Karnataka Minister Gali Janardhan Reddy and Obulapuram Mining Corporation (OMC) managing director B.V. Srinivas Reddy, a court here on Tuesday handed them over to CBI custody for interrogation till September 19, when their judicial remand expires.
A CBI team immediately picked up the two from the Chanchalguda central jail, where they had been held since September 5, and shifted them to the agency's office at Sultan Bazar. They were moved to an undisclosed place for night stay.
In its 23-page order, the special court for CBI cases accepted the agency's argument that interrogation of the accused was “very much needed” to identify government servants who aided “illegal” mining by the OMC, of which Mr. Janardhan Reddy is director. The court set aside the defence contention that the CBI did not name any government servant in either the FIR or the remand report. This was not a matter for consideration in the initial stages of investigation, the court said. Brushing aside the argument that the CBI's remand report was not exhaustive, the order said it gave sufficient information for the court to apply its mind to detention of the accused. The court acknowledged the painstaking defence effort at seeking bail by digging into past litigation but said it was left with no choice because the Andhra Pradesh High Court had permitted the CBI to investigate illegal mining without touching the boundary dispute involving a couple of mines.
The court agreed with the CBI that Mr. Janardhan Reddy should clear the air on illegal mining as it was done with his exclusive knowledge. It said it could not play an “appellate court” on the issue of cases booked against the accused under special legislation as it was answered by the High Court.
CBI Joint Director V.V. Lakshmi Narayana told mediapersons later that the agency would seek extension of police custody when the two were produced in the court on September 19. He, however, did not specify the period of extension. Jail authorities said Mr. Janardhan Reddy was in perfect health when he was examined by doctors prior to his departure. He had avoided visitors in the last five days.