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Mining baron Reddy completes a year behind bars Sep 5

Source : IANS
Last Updated: Tue, Sep 04, 2012 11:30 hrs

Bangalore, Sep 4 (IANS) Gali Janardhana Reddy, a struggling businessman who became a billionaire in less than a decade and dictated terms to BJP in Karnataka, completes a year behind bars Sep 5 on charges of illegal mining.

The former Karnataka BJP minister, however, continues to make news -- for wrong reasons though, like cash-for-bail deal which has sent his brother Gali Somashekara, a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislator, also to jail.

The third Reddy brother Gali Karunakara has so far not been snared by the wheeling-dealing of Janardhana, the most vocal of the siblings, sons of an Andhra Pradesh Police constable but making iron ore rich Bellary in north Karnataka their home and political base decades ago.

Like Janardhana, Karunakara was also a minister in the first BJP government. Now he is only a legislator.

Janardhana was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation last Sep 5 from his palatial home in Bellary, about 300 km from Bangalore on Karnataka-Andhra border, and was lodged in Hyderabad's Chanchalaguda jail over illegal mining case in that state.

Janardhana and his wife Laskhmi Aruna own the Obulapuram Mining Company which operated in Andhra Pradesh. They also own Associated Mining Company which operated in Karnataka.

Janardhana is charged with illegal mining both in Andhra and Karnataka. His wife is also an accused in the Karnataka case but has not been arrested.

Of the one year behind bars, Janardhana spent first six months - till March 1 this year in Chanchalaguda jail. Since March 2, he has been Parappana Agrahara jail in east Bangalore.

The Reddy brothers' close associate and former minister B. Sriramulu, who has since quit BJP and launched own party, is facing the heat over the cash-for-bail deal. He has been interrogated by Andhra Pradesh Anti Corruption Bureau.

Besides Gali Somashekara Reddy, the cash-for-bail scam has sent another Karnataka BJP legislator T.H. Suresh Babu also to jail, apart from CBI judge T. Pattabhirama Rao who had granted bail to Janardhana Reddy in the illegal mining case.

The Andhra Pradesh High Court later cancelled the bail.

As the once powerful Reddy spent the year in jail, the BJP in Karnataka continued to be rocked by various scandals and dissidence leading to unseating of D.V. Sadananda Gowda last July and installing of Jagadish Shettar as party's third chief minister in four years.

One senior BJP leader still haunted by decade long association with Reddy brothers is Sushma Swaraj who had taken on Congress president Sonia Gandhi in Bellary in the 1999 Lok Sabha polls.

Sushma Swaraj lost the polls but kept visiting Bellary every year for nearly a decade to perform 'Varamahalakshmi Vratha' or worship of Hindu wealth goddess Lakshmi as the 1999 electioneering coincided with the major festival in Karnataka.

She distanced herself from the Reddy brothers once the mining scandal became a hot issue two years ago.

However, she occasionally faces taunt from Congress and other parties on how much money she had received from the Reddy brothers.

The latest taunt was from the irrepressible Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Lalu Prasad.

Retorting to Sushma Swaraj's claim that Congress had made "mota maal (a huge sum)" from 'coalgate', Lalu Prasad hit back asking who received the "mota maal" from the Reddy brothers.

In jail or out of it and in power or deprived of it, Reddy brothers seems set to make news or find their names being useful to taunt those associated with them.




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