G Janardhana Reddy is the Karnataka Minister of Tourism and Infrastructure in the Karnataka cabinet. He is also the owner of the Obulapuram Mining Company. Reddy has been in the eye of the storm for supporting and perpetuating illegal iron ore mining mafia in the Bellary region of Karnataka through the neta-business nexus.
Repeated demands for his removal from the ministry over this have failed to push the BJP high command into action because of the clout enjoyed by the Reddy brothers G Janarthana Reddy, G Somashekara Reddy and Karunakara Reddy (both MLAs from Bellary) in the ore-rich region and within party circles.
Janardhana Reddy is also a founder promoter of a business group in Bellary called M/s Ennoble Group. The official website of Brahmani Indsutries Limited, of which he is a board member, informs that he ventured onto mining in 2002.
The Bellary brothers originally hail from Andhra Pradesh and made their entry on the political scene in 1998-99 when BJP pitted Sushma Swaraj against Sonia Gandhi in the parliamentary elections. It was the Reddy Brothers, who along with B Sriramulu (currently Health and Family Welfare minister) campaigned aggressively. They have over time converted Bellary from a Congress stronghold to a BJP bastion.
They also proved instrumental to the party's survival in the 2008 assembly elections when after it was clear that the BJP had to rope in the victorious independents to conquer Vidhana Soudha, the Reddy brothers set on task to gather the numbers.
In 2008, "of 27 seats in these four districts, the BJP won 23 seats. Five of these seats were won by the Reddy family itself," Tehelka reported.
He and his brother's political foray has seen his company's wealth swell over a short period of time. The revenue boom took off after 2003, when China pumped up demand for steel for the Beijing Olympics, raising prices considerably. Between 2003 and 2008, their iron ore business in Bellary alone generated nearly Rs 4,000 crore of profit before tax, the Indian Express reported.
The recent show of wealth was in May 2009, when the Reddy family spent an estimated Rs 20 crore on a wedding and flew down guests in chartered planes and hosted over 10,000 guests. A month later, the Reddy brothers donated a Rs 42 crore diamond-studded crown to a temple deity.
The irregularities in mining operations led to his arrest on 5 September 2011, "a day after Reddy's associate and former Karnataka minister B. Sreeramulu quit his Assembly seat, protesting the BJP's denial to give him ministerial berth and also keeping the Reddy brothers out of the new ministry," PTI reported.
Updated Date: Sep 05, 2011 11:32:23 IST