Karnataka Assembly polls: BJP draws criticism for association with Reddy brothers; a look at the cases against them

When the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) released its second list of candidates for the Karnataka Assembly election, one name caught everyone's attention — Somashekhar Reddy, brother of tainted mining baron G Janardhana Reddy.

NDTV had quoted state BJP spokesperson Vivek Reddy as saying that the party had "made a compromise" by fielding Somashekhar since it wanted to win the Ballari city. Later, the party fielded another Reddy brother, Karunakar Reddy, from Harapanahalli as it announced its third list of candidates. Janardhana has been campaigning for the BJP in the state.

The BJP had come under attack from the Opposition over its decision to field the Reddy brothers in Karnataka. Addressing a gathering in Bhalki on Thursday, Congress president Rahul Gandhi criticised Narendra Modi on the issue of corruption by claiming that the prime minister has "fielded the entire gang of Gabbar Singh" in Karnataka, alluding to the BJP's association with the Reddy brothers.

 Karnataka Assembly polls: BJP draws criticism for association with Reddy brothers; a look at the cases against them

File photo of Janardhan Reddy. PTI

"You brought Gabbar Singh Tax but this time you have gone even further. You have fielded the entire gang of Gabbar Singh. There is Gabbar, Sambha, Kalia, and all of them.... Reddy brothers gang, which was in jail.... You are trying to get them inducted into the Assembly, and you tell the country that you are fighting against corruption," he said.

Janardhana was a minister in the BS Yeddyurappa government when major corruption charges involving illegal mining were levelled against him, which ultimately led to his removal, NDTV reported.

According to News Minute, there are 63 cases against Janardhana, some of his family members and associates in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. Out of these, 10 cases involve the Belekeri port, the chargesheet hasn't been filed in some cases as the investigation is still underway. Twenty-eight of these cases are with the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), in which a chargesheet has been filed in nearly all of them.

All cases related to illegal transportation of iron ore from ports in Mangalore, Karwar, Krishnapatnam, and Goa have been disposed of owing to lack of evidence, News18 reported.

Here is a rundown of the major cases against the Reddy brothers.

Cases against Janardhana Reddy

I. Obulapuram Mining Company case:

According to The Hindu, Janardhana's Obulapuram Mining Company (OMC) was accused of changing mining lease boundary markings between Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka and indulging in illegal mining in the Ballari Reserve Forest area, spread between Ballari district of Karnataka and Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh.

The CBI had alleged that mining and extraction of 29.30 lakh tonnes of iron-ore was carried out in several areas in Karnataka other than the leased area of 68.5 hectares held by OMC.

The agency also alleged that the accused conspired with public servants to create forged documents in order to carry out the illegal mining and secured evidence from transporters to show that iron ore extracted in Ballari of Karnataka was portrayed as a product of the OMC in Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh.

Janardhana and his brother-in-law BV Srinivas Reddy, managing director of OMC, were arrested by the CBI on 5 September 2011, from Ballari in Karnataka, and brought to Hyderabad. In 2015, Janardhan was granted bail by the Supreme Court in the illegal mining case.

II. Associated Mining Company case:

In 2012, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) registered a case against Janardhana and others and initiated criminal action against him and his wife G Lakshmi Aruna in connection with the agency's money laundering investigation into the business operations of M/s Associated Mining Company (Guru Iron Ore mines) based in Havambhavi in Ballari district of Karnataka.

The ED complaint alleged that Janardhana and his wife "made wrongful gains to the tune of Rs 480 crore" in the case. The complaint further added that Janardhan and his wife became partners in M/s Associated Mining Company on 31 July 2009, through an admission deed and "took over" the company.

The ED stated that the iron ore mining company, however, did not undertake any mining operation in the leasehold area of ML No 2434.

ED recorded in its complaint that a scientific survey conducted by CBI in the area specified, estimated that the iron ore excavated between 22 July 2009 and 21 April 2012 could only be about 1,33,373 metric tonnes.

"Thereby, the claim of Reddy and Lakshmi Aruna that 6.28 lakh metric tonnes was excavated from August 2009 to 22 March 2010, was proved wrong," the ED had recorded in its complaint.

Case against G Somashekhar Reddy

Somasekhar is facing charges of offering a bribe to Justice Pattabhirama of the Hyderabad CBI court in order to secure bail for his brother Janardhana.

Somashekar along with G Dasarathrama Reddy, Suresh Babu, T Aditya, an advocate, retired judge TV Chalapathi Rao, Pattabhirama Rao, and others, had allegedly entered a conspiracy for getting bail for Janardhana by asserting official favour, according to The Hindu.

India Today reported that Somasekhar was arrested by the ACB in 2012 on charges of transferring Rs 9.5 crore from Ballari to Hyderabad for the purpose of bribing judges. Of this amount, Rs 5 crore was transferred into the accounts of Pattabhirama's son Ravichandra and Rao. Somashekar was later granted bail in the case by the Andhra Pradesh High Court.

With inputs from PTI

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Updated Date: May 04, 2018 15:37:36 IST