Following the arrest of former Karnataka Minister and mining baron Janardhana Reddy, the Central Crime Branch (CCB) has launched a search for three more people in connection with the alleged cover-up of a ponzi scheme.
Officials are now on the lookout for two middlemen who allegedly organised the meeting between Ambidant Marketing Pvt Ltd chief Syed Ahmed Fareed and Janardhana Reddy and one more person who allegedly transported 57kg of gold to him in the Ambidant scam.
The gold was allegedly transferred from Ramesh Kothari, owner of Ambika Sales Corporation in Bengaluru, to Ramesh, who runs Rajmahal Fancy Jewellers in Ballari, as a form of payment to Janardhana Reddy. The mining baron has been accused of bribing Enforcement Directorate officials and police in a bid to protect the owners of Ambidant, Syed Ahmed Fareed and his son Syed Afaq Ahmed, who have been accused of executing a ponzi scheme by baiting customers in the guise of 'Islamic Bank'.
CCB sources say that Fareed, the founder of Ambidant Marketing Pvt Ltd allegedly confessed that Gali Janardhana Reddy had procured shares in the company. "When we questioned Ali, he had stated that Janardhana Reddy had obtained shares in his company and that Ramesh (Kothari) had supplied the 57 kg gold bullion to Janardhana Reddy so Fareed could escape the Enforcement Directorate's inquiry. Janardhana Reddy is said to have promised Fareed that if he received the payment of Rs 20 crore in cash and gold, then he would help with the ED investigation," a source in the CCB told TNM.
However, the investigators add that Ramesh Kothari and Ali, who had allegedly confessed to having helped fix the deal between Reddy and Fareed, are now denying their involvement. "There is documented proof of their involvement in the money laundering and bribery case. In order to ensure that Ali and Ramesh's confession remains inadmissible as evidence, their lawyers are telling the court that the confession was coerced. But we have proof with us," the CCB source said.
Ramesh Kothari has been questioned by the CCB but is yet to be arrested. However, Ali and Janardhana Reddy have been remanded to judicial custody. Reddy was extensively questioned by CCB officials on Saturday for over ten hours until 2 am on Sunday morning.
The officials were seeking to establish the link between Reddy and Ambidant by questioning him about the revelations made by the owners of Ambidant. "He evaded all questions related to Ambidant. The burden of proof now remains on the CCB. We are confident of building a strong case against him," the source added.
Janardhana Reddy has been remanded to judicial custody until November 24. A bail hearing posted for Monday has been postponed after a holiday was declared in the state on account of the demise of Union Minister and senior BJP leader Ananth Kumar.