Three months after mining baron Gali Janardhana Reddy was arrested in connection with the Ambidant scam, the Central Crime Branch named him in the chargesheet which was filed in a Bengaluru court on Tuesday. Reddy along with nine others have been accused of cheating people of more than Rs 500 crore in the chargesheet running into 4,800 pages.
The former BJP minister was booked under sections 204 (destruction of evidence), 120B (criminal conspiracy), 420 (cheating) of the Indian Penal Code and multiple sections of Prevention of Money Laundering Act. He is out on bail.
Other accused in the case include Syed Fareed Ahmed, Syed Afaq Ahmed, businessman Vijay Tata, Reddy's aide K Mehfuz Ali Khan, gold merchant Ramesh alias Ballari Ramesh, other executives of the company Inayat Ullah Wahab and Ashraf Ali.
The CCB in a press release said that Rs 3.45 crore in cash has been recovered from 37 frozen bank accounts belonging to the accused. The same has been submitted to the court through demand draft. They have also asked the district authorities to attach Rs 59 crore worth of properties, including Reddyâ€™s prized Parijatha mansion in Chalukya Circle.
Ambidant Marketing Private Limited, run by Bengaluru-based father-son duo Syed Ahmed Fareed and Syed Afaq Ahmed, collected money from customers, a majority of them Muslims, in the name of â€œHalal Investment," offering huge returns of up to 12% interest per month. The company used to return the first installment as promised luring customers to invest more. But the company never returned their investments for a second time.
While the ponzi scheme run in the name of Ambidant is said to have run into thousands of crores, the CCB has limited the amount based on the registered complaints of close to 5,000 investors so far.
The CCB investigations are independent of a separate investigation carried out by the state Revenue Department through Bangalore North Assistant Commissioner in accordance with the Karnataka Protection of Interest of Depositors Act. A separate writ petition is also being heard in the Karnataka High Court.
While the CCB had started probing the case in October 2018, the case made headlines after the involvement of Janardhana Reddy was revealed.
Janardhana Reddy is accused of shielding perpetrators from being investigated by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in exchange for bribes amounting to Rs 20 crore. The CCB had claimed to have discovered a transaction trail through which the Ambidant owners gifted him 57 kg of gold.