G. Janardhan Reddy, one of the most powerful mining barons-turned-politician, who once ruled the roost in Bellary district, has now completed one year as an undertrial in Parappana Agrahara jail in Bangalore on charges of indulging in large-scale illegal mining in the forest areas of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
On September 5, he completed 365 days in jail. He was arrested on September 5, 2011, by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which was entrusted with the task of investigating illegal mining activities of Obulapuram Mining Company (OMC), owned by Mr. Reddy, by the Andhra Pradesh government.
The growth of Mr. Reddy, the youngest of three sons of a police constable, along with his close friend and trusted lieutenant B. Sriramulu, was nothing short of a ‘rags to riches’ story.
The Reddy Brothers clinched the Bellary Lok Sabha seat in 2004, which was held by the Congress since 1952 and also the Bellary Assembly seat.
From then on they built a powerful empire in Bellary. Mr. Reddy and Mr. Sriramulu were largely instrumental in brining the Bharatiya Janata Party to power in the State. They became kingpins with their money and political power until they were indicted in the Lokayukta report on illegal mining in August 2011. This spelt the downfall of the Reddy empire.
Mr. Reddy’s arrest by the CBI came as the first major setback. His brother G. Somashekara Reddy, MLA and Chairman of the Karnataka Milk Federation, and T.H. Suresh Babu, Kampli MLA and nephew of Mr. Sriramulu, were arrested by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) Hyderabad for their role in bribing the judge of the CBI court in a bid to get bail for Mr. Reddy.
Today, Mr. Sriramulu has also come under the scanner of the ACB and has already appeared before it for interrogation.
With his close friend (Mr. Reddy) and two other legislators in jail, Mr. Sriramulu, who has floated the BSR Congress party, appears to be fighting a lone battle to regain their past glory.
During the past year, the image of the Reddy brothers and their clout has been diminishing in the district.