As the enquiry into the cash-for-bail scam involving the former Karnataka Minister, Gali Janardhan Reddy, entered a crucial phase with the arrest of the retired judge, T.V. Chalapathi Rao, and another person, the big question before the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) is whether the accused had a larger design than merely securing the bail in a lower court since it served no purpose.
It was in this context, informed sources said, that ACB officials raided the house of a lawyer who argued for bail for Mr. Reddy to enquire what the accused were up to. Incidentally, the lawyer's junior was also an accused in the case.
The ACB has laid emphasis on Mr. Reddy's brother and Bellary MLA Somasekhar Reddy telling accused P. Yadagiri that the balance amount for grant of bail would be released only after the judgment of the High Court since the CBI had gone in appeal to the higher judiciary.
The conversation of Mr. Somasekhar Reddy with Mr. Yadagiri, which was also recorded in the FIR registered by the ACB, assumed significance in the backdrop of another reported remark of the latter that he learnt about payment of money to Mr. Rao by Mr. Somasekhar Reddy and others to influence a judge by name Sharma. However, Mr. Yadagiri was quoted as saying that he was not aware of the details of Mr. Sharma.
The sources said the deal to ensure bail for Mr. Janardhan Reddy was struck for a whopping Rs. 20 crore, of which half the amount was reportedly paid as advance and the balance was promised to be remitted when the entire matter was clinched. However, the CBI, which sprung into action soon after the judge of CBI court, T. Pattabhirama Rao, delivered the judgment, recovered only Rs. 2.74 crore. A large portion of the remaining amount was suspected to be with one of the accused who recently purchased a Swiss car but denied receiving money.
They added that the actions of the accused were suspect from the beginning as they sought the transfer of the bail petition to a court other than the one presided by Mr. Pattabhirama Rao. As the transfer application was rejected, they approached the High Court seeking review but withdrew their request after it was partially heard.