Teams of the Central Bureau of Investigation organised raids in several places in Andhra Pradesh on Saturday as the agency stepped up its probe into multi-dimensional ‘cash-for-bail' scam involving Special Judge for CBI cases Talluri Pattabhirama Rao.

Mr. Rao was suspended after the CBI unearthed Rs.2.87 crore from the lockers of a nationalised bank at Ashok Nagar in Hyderabad. He allegedly struck a deal with mining baron and the former Karnataka Minister, Gali Janardhan Reddy, before granting him bail on May 11 in the illegal mining case.

As CBI intensified its probe, more facts emerged. The deal is understood to be running into several crores of rupees for grant of bail to Janardhan Reddy, his brother-in-law B.V. Srinivas Reddy, the suspended IAS officer, Y. Srilakshmi, and Director-Mines V.D. Rajagopal.

A CBI team raided the residence of Yadagiri Rao, a rowdy-sheeter, at HMT Nagar in Hyderabad.

He is said to have played a part in the mediation process between Mr. Rao and Mr. Janardhan Reddy. The CBI also searched the ancestral house of Chalapathi Rao, former judicial officer and a classmate of the Judge, at Chilakaluripeta of Guntur district and made enquiries about his brothers.

Two close relatives of Mr. Rao in Gudivada of Krishna district may also be questioned. It appeared the CBI had tapped Mr. Rao's phones and those of his son.

Those in the investigation team claimed they had proof in the form of CCTV footage of some of the meetings held by those involved, at a hotel in the city.

The agency is going all out and spreading its dragnet far and wide and the names of Congress leaders, among others, have begun emerging. However, late on Saturday evening, sources said the agency had decided to hand over the investigation to the Anti-Corruption Bureau of the State government, as Mr. Rao was its employee.