Min­ing baron J Reddy un­der probe for al­leged link with ponzi scheme ac­cused

The Northlines - - NATION -

Kar­nataka’s min­ing baron G Ja­nard­hana Reddy is be­ing probed by the po­lice for pos­si­ble links to a man ac­cused of run­ning a ponzi scheme. Syed Ahmed Fa­reed, who is be­ing in­ves­ti­gated by the En­force­ment Direc­torate for the 600 crore scam, has claimed that he paid Rs 18 crore to the in­flu­en­tial min­ing baron for “help” in set­tling the ED case, the Ben­galuru po­lice said

Ac­cord­ing to the po­lice, Fa­reed al­legedly cheated around 15,000 peo­ple to the tune of Rs 600 crore through his com­pany Am­bidant Mar­ket­ing Fi­nance Ltd by promis­ing them 40-50% in­ter­est on in­vest­ment. Af­ter a com­plaint was filed against Fa­reed by some mem­bers of the pub­lic last year, raids had been con­ducted on his of­fices and res­i­dences by the En­force­ment Direc­torate ear­lier this year and his bank ac­counts were frozen.

Ben­galuru po­lice com­mis­sioner T Suneel Ku­mar said the city po­lice’s Cen­tral Crime Branch had been con­duct­ing a par­al­lel in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Fa­reed’s af­fairs, based on the com­plaints it had re­ceived

“While the probe was go­ing on, the of­fi­cials came across a par­tic­u­lar trans­ac­tion of Rs 18 crore. Upon in­ves­ti­ga­tion it was found that the money was trans­ferred from Am­bidant to Ramesh Kothari, who runs a bul­lion busi­ness called Am­bika Jew­ellers,” Ku­mar said. Upon be­ing ques­tioned, Kothari said he had given 57 kg of gold to Ramesh, who runs Ra­jma­hal Jew­ellers, and he re­vealed that he, in turn, had handed over the gold to Ja­nard­han Reddy’s as­sis­tant Ali Khan, he added.

Ac­cord­ing to the po­lice, Fa­reed said he paid the amount be­cause he was promised by Ja­nard­hana Reddy and oth­ers that they would “help him out” with the ED’S case. Some meet­ings have taken place be­tween Reddy, Ali Khan and Fa­reed, po­lice said. “The whole trans­ac­tion hinges on this trans­fer of Rs 18 crore. Fa­reed says the amount was given in lieu of help in the ED cases. We have to ver­ify if this is a fact,” Ku­mar said. So far, Fa­reed and Ramesh of Ra­jma­hal Jew­ellers have been ar­rested, and Kothari has been ques­tioned, the po­lice said.

Re­peated at­tempts to reach Khan went unan­swered.

The Bal­lari satrap

Reddy is no stranger to con­tro­versy, hav­ing been ac­cused of il­le­gally min­ing iron ore in Kar­nataka. And although the Cen­tral Bureau of In­ves­ti­ga­tion had dropped some cases against him last year, the then Sid­dara­ma­iah- led Congress gov­ern­ment had con­sti­tuted a Spe­cial In­ves­ti­ga­tion Team to re­open some cases. Reddy was jailed for around four years in con­nec­tion with the cases and con­tin­ues to be banned from en­ter­ing Bal­lari district. He had rented out a house on the out­skirts of the district in Mol­ka­lmuru, from where his close aide Sreer­a­mulu con­tested and won in the May as­sem­bly elec­tions. In 2016, Reddy had caused a furore af­ter al­legedly spend­ing Rs 500 crore on a lav­ish wed­ding he threw for his daugh­ter with the venue decked up to re­sem­ble Hampi. This was just days af­ter Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi an­nounced the de­ci­sion to de­mon­e­tise Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes.

Two weeks ago, Reddy courted con­tro­versy yet again, when he seemed to sug­gest in a TV in­ter­view that the for­mer chief min­is­ter Sid­dara­ma­iah’s el­der son had passed away be­cause he had sep­a­rated Reddy from his chil­dren by get­ting him sent to jail.

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