Taken to Hyderabad and remanded; over Rs. 3 crore, 30 kg of gold seized
The former Karnataka Minister, Gali Janardhan Reddy, and his relative and managing director of the Bellary-based Obulapuram Mining Company, B.V. Srinivas Reddy, were arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation on Monday and remanded in judicial custody for two weeks, till September 19.
In a swift inter-State operation, CBI sleuths ensured that Mr. Janardhan Reddy, who till recently called the shots in the BJP government by virtue of his clout, was in the Chanchalguda Central Prison within 13 hours of his arrest in Bellary.
Led by the Hyderabad-based Joint Director, V.V. Lakshminarayana, the CBI team picked up Mr. Janardhan Reddy, now an MLC, from his mansion in the early hours and drove him along with Mr. Srinivas Reddy to Hyderabad, 400 km away, in vehicles that were kept ready. The CBI court in Hyderabad, which remanded them in judicial custody, will hear the bail application of the Reddys on September 7.
The CBI teams seized more than Rs. 3 crore in cash, 30 kg of gold and several documents from Mr. Janardhan Reddy's house, while the searches in Mr. Srinivas Reddy's house yielded more than Rs.1.5 crore in cash and documents. A director of the controversial OMC, the BJP leader has been at the centre of the controversy over illegal mining of iron ore on the Andhra Pradesh-Karnataka border, near Bellary.
A press release said the CBI carried out the arrests after registering a case on December 7, 2009, under Sections 120-B, 420, 379, 411, 427 and 447 of the IPC and provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act, the Indian Forest Act and the Mines and Minerals (Development & Regulation) Act.
The CBI registered the cases at the instance of the Rosaiah government in Andhra Pradesh following allegations that companies owned by Mr. Janardhan Reddy, close associate of the late Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, were spiriting away iron ore illegally, mining ore beyond the permitted boundaries and destroying the forest wealth.
The arrests came a day after the former Karnataka Health Minister, B. Sriramulu, and a close associate of Mr. Janardhan Reddy, resigned as MLA to protest against the denial of berths in the Cabinet to him and the Reddy brothers.
The CBI sleuths, divided in two batches, simultaneously raided the houses of the Reddys around 5.30 a.m. in Bellary.
Mr. Srinivas Reddy, who was picked up at his residence at Shreenagar in Avambhavi, was brought to Mr. Janardhan Reddy's mansion nearby. Police were deployed in large numbers.
Meanwhile, other members of the CBI team interrogated the family members of the Reddys, including their wives, according to reliable sources.
In Bangalore, a seven-member CBI team raided Mr. Janardhan Reddy's guesthouse in ‘Parijatha' apartments on Fairfield Road, off Race Course Road, only to find that two of the bedrooms were locked. They were later opened with the help of a key maker. Around 1 p.m., the official quarters of Mr. Janardhana Reddy's close associate B. Sriramulu on T. Chowdaiah Road was raided, and a large plastic bag containing files was taken out.
Sources in the CBI would only say that they recovered a large number of documents.