Mining Baron Gali Janardhana Reddy, who has been accused of bribing an Enforcement Directorate official, has now petitioned the Karnataka High Court, requesting it to quash the FIR registered against him.
Janardhana Reddy’s lawyers have also petitioned the sessions court in Bengaluru for an anticipatory bail, two days after the Central Crime Branch sleuths in the city launched a manhunt for him.
The petition filed by Janardhana Reddy’s lawyer RP Chandrashekar with the High Court states that Reddy has been “deliberately framed” and that he had no role in the money laundering and bribery case registered against him.
“Janaradhana Reddy has been framed and the police officials have deliberately accused him of receiving gold bullion from Ambidant Marketing Pvt Ltd. Janardhana Reddy was not involved in any money laundering with Ambidant and he has not profited from any transaction with the company. The CCB has registered false charges against Janardhana Reddy,” the petition states.
The mining baron’s lawyer also accused the CCB sleuths of going after Janardhana Reddy for political gains and requested the court that the FIR be quashed and the investigating officers in the case be changed.
“The police officers investigating the case have indulged in partisan politics. The investigating officers CP Ganesh and ACP Venkatesh Prasanna must be removed from the case,” the petition adds.
Soon after the petition was filed at the Karnataka High Court, Reddy’s lawyers moved the Bengaluru sessions court at around 11.30 am seeking anticipatory bail for Janardhana Reddy.
The CCB sleuths, however, filed objection to Reddy’s bail application stating that the former Minister was directly involved in the money laundering and bribery case. The officials also stated that they have proof of such transactions.
Crime Branch sleuths have formed four teams to search for Janardhana Reddy. According to police sources, Janardhana Reddy made several phone calls from three different mobile phones to Hyderabad and a region in the Karnataka-Telangana border.
One of the teams, which received a tip off that Reddy was at Banjara Hills in Hyderabad rushed to the city. Police sources say that Reddy had absconded by the time the officers reached Banjara Hills.
The police also raided the residence of Reddy’s personal assistant Mehfuz Ali Khan’s residence in Bengaluru’s RT Nagar on Thursday. The officials also searched Also Reddy's flat in Parijata Apartments near Chalukya Circle. The officers seized several documents from his Bengaluru residence on Thursday evening.
One of the teams, raided Reddy’s mansion in Ballari. Soon after the sleuths arrived, Molakalmuru MLA and Reddy’s long-time loyalist B Sreeramulu arrived at Reddy’s mansion. Around 3.15pm, they left for Reddy's Obulapuram Mining Corporation office and also carried out a search operation there.
The police have accused Gali Janardhana Reddy of taking Rs 20 crore from the owner of Ambidant Marketing Pvt Ltd Syed Ahmed Fareed in order to strike a deal with Enforcement Directorate (ED) officials to drop the case against they were investigating against Ambidant.
A CCB source told TNM that Syed Ahmed Fareed allegedly confessed to giving Janardhana Reddy Rs 20 crore, of which Rs 2 crore in cash and 57 kg of gold bullion worth Rs 18 crore by laundering it through two jewellery firms.
The source said that Syed Fareed was under the police lens for allegedly cheating hundreds of investors after promising them massive returns and then reneged.
CCB sources say that since the transaction happened in March 2018, Janardhana Reddy could have used converted the gold to cash for funding the state Assembly elections. "Unless we question him, it will not be clear as to what happened to the 57 kg gold bullion. After the transaction in March, he has funded the Assembly elections and also the bye-polls in Ballari. We don'yt know if he is in possession with the gold or if her used it for the election," the source added.