The Special CBI court, which convened at the Parappana Agrahara Central Jail here on Friday, granted the Bangalore unit of the CBI custody of mining baron G. Janardhan Reddy and his aide Mehfouz Ali Khan till March 14.
The two men will be interrogated about their alleged role in the transport of 50 lakh tonnes of illicit iron ore from Bellary to the Belekeri port. The Bangalore CBI has four other men in custody in connection with the same case. They include illegal ore transporters Kharapudi Mahesh and Swastik Nagaraj as well as the former Bellary Deputy Conservator of Forests S. Muthaiah and the former Director of the Mines and Geology S.P. Raju.
Earlier, the arrival of Reddy and Khan at the Parappana Agrahara Central Jail for the court hearing turned into a spectacle with the Hyderabad police escort forgetting to bring the transit order from the Hyderabad court. The chaos left journalists running helter-skelter with baton-wielding policemen in hot pursuit. Reddy, who was brought from Hyderabad’s Chanchalaguda prison early on Friday morning, was made to wait along with Khan for hours inside a police van parked at the prison gates.
Sensing an opportunity, television crews cautiously approached the van in which Reddy was waiting. When the first TV channel was not stopped, others were emboldened to follow suit. Soon, Reddy was freely giving interviews to journalists.
There are conflicting versions about what followed. While police sources claimed that the journalists refused to leave despite repeated warnings, journalists claimed that the police launched into them with batons without warning. The journalists also alleged that that Police Inspector Lakshminarayana slapped many of them.
It is only after this commotion died down that the Parappana Agrahara police took Reddy and Khan to the police station where they were kept until the transit orders were brought by the CBI. Mr. Sriramulu, music composer Madan Patel and Reddy’s wife Aruna Lakshmi and children who came to meet Reddy had to return disappointed after the police refused their request citing security reasons.