Mining baron Reddy appears for questioning in ‘bribe case’
Ballari mining baron and ex-Karnataka minister G Janardhana Reddy appeared for questioning in Bengaluru in an alleged bribery case on Saturday.
Before turning up at the central crime branch office, Reddy, who is under its probe for possible links to a man accused of running a ponzi scheme, released a video, saying he had “not committed any wrong”.
He also rubbished media reports that he had fled to Hyderabad or some other city, reported PTI. “I have not committed anything wrong. Police do not have a single document to prove that I am wrong. They are misleading the media,” he claimed in his video message.
Reddy, who was a minister in the erstwhile Bharatiya Janata Party government in the state, claimed his name neither figured in the FIR, nor was any notice served to him. He said: “Now that the notice has been issued by police, I have decided to appear before the central crime branch today itself though the notice says I should appear on Sunday.
“I decided to make this video to let people know the truth. I have faith in police and believe that they would not succumb to any political pressure.”
Ponzi scam Syed Ahmed Fareed, who is being investigated by the Enforcement Directorate for the 600 crore scam, has alleged that he paid ~8 crore to Reddy for “help” in settling the ED case, the Bengaluru police had said.
According to police, Fareed allegedly cheated around 15,000 people to the tune of ~600 crore through his company Ambidant Marketing Finance Ltd by promising them 40-50% interest on investment. After a complaint was filed against him by some members of the public last year, raids had been conducted on his offices and residences by the ED earlier this year and his bank accounts were frozen.
Bengaluru police commissioner T Suneel Kumar said on Wednesday that 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 ~8 crore. A probe found that the money was transferred from Ambidant to Ramesh Kothari, who runs a bullion business called Ambika Jewellers,” said Kumar.
Kothari claimed he had given 57 kg gold to Ramesh, who runs Rajmahal Jewellers, and Ramesh alleged that he, in turn, had handed over the gold to Reddy’s assistant Ali Khan, he added.
Fareed said he paid the amount because he was promised by Reddy and others that they would “help him out” with the ED’s case. Some meetings had allegedly taken place between Reddy, Ali Khan and Fareed, police said.
While Kothari was questioned, Fareed and Ramesh have been arrested, police said.
THE BALLARI SATRAP
Reddy, the eldest of the Reddy brothers from Ballari, 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 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 in Molkalmuru, from where his close aide Sreeramulu contested and won in the May assembly elections.
In 2016, Reddy had stirred up controversy after allegedly spending ~500 crore on a lavish wedding he threw for his daughter with the venue decked up to resemble Hampi. This was during demonetisation.