Janardhana Reddy has been accused of accepting Rs 2 crore in cash and Rs 18 crore worth gold bullion to bail Ambidant’s owner out of an ED probe.

Took loan from Ambidant for personal reasons Aide lets Janardhana Reddy off the hook
news Crime Wednesday, November 14, 2018 - 12:26

Mining baron Gali Janardhana Reddy’s right-hand man Mehfuz Ali Khan submitted an affidavit in court on Tuesday, which may come as a relief to Janardhana. Janardhana Reddy has been accused of accepting Rs 20 crore – Rs 2 crore in cash and Rs 18 crore worth gold bullion weighing 57 kg from the owner of Ambidant Marketing Pvt Ltd for allegedly bailing the owner Syed Ahmed Fareed out of a probe by the Enforcement Directorate.

Bengaluru’s Central Crime Branch sleuths have been trying to track down the gold bullion. They also filed an objection to Mehfuz’s anticipatory bail plea on Tuesday. In an affidavit submitted through his attorney, Mehfuz claims that he bought the 57 kg gold in order to offer it to various places of worship.

Mehfuz, who appeared before the 1st Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate in Bengaluru on Tuesday told the court that Syed Ahmed Fareed, the founder and managing director of Ambidant, helped him receive a loan to purchase the gold. Mehfuz also said that he was prepared to return the Rs 18 crore to Ahmed Fareed if the court orders him to do so.

“My family and I are great believers of the Almighty and we believe that the only way to be blessed by God is through charity. We had pledged to offer gold to the Almighty if we were redeemed of adversities. We had been facing troubles since 2011 and were able to overcome it, To honour our commitment to God, we began gathering the gold,” Mehfuz Ali Khan’s affidavit states.

In January this year, Mehfuz alleged that he met Ahmed Fareed and confided in him his need to obtain gold in order to donate it to various places of worship. Mehfuz stated that Fareed appreciated his initiative and promised to help him.

“He helped me obtain a loan of Rs 18 crore, which he gave through his company Ambidant in March this year. It is only now, after the reports in the media that I have learnt that there are cases against Ambidant for cheating its depositors. I am not involved in the affairs of the company and the loan was obtained for personal reasons. I am now prepared to return the entire amount now,” the affidavit adds.

Khan’s statement came soon after Justice Jagadeesh, who was hearing Janardhana Reddy’s bail application, reprimanded CCB officials.

Mehfuz’s affidavit may offer Janardhana some respite, since CCB sleuths suspect that he laundered the Rs 18 crore through gold bullion obtained by Mehfuz. Mehfuz has been Reddy’s trusted lieutenant since 2007, when he started working for Brahmani Steel, Janardhan Reddy’s company. Mehfuz was also one of the accused in the illegal mining scam allegedly by the Obulapuram Mining Company in Ballari, owned by Janardhana Reddy and his brothers. Mehfuz was also arrested along with Janardhana Reddy in 2012.

CCB sources say that the paper trail in the gold transactions ends with Mehfuz, and that they suspect the gold was procured by Mehfuz for Janardhana Reddy.

“How will Mehfuz and Janardhana Reddy explain the meeting they held with Ambidant owner at Taj West End or in the hotel in HSR Layout? Mehfuz does not have any proof that he gave the money to said places of worship,” the CCB source added.

CCB sleuths have decided to invoke the Karnataka Protection of Interest of Depositors (KPID) in Financial Establishments Act against all six accused in the case. “We are collecting more evidence regarding the financial transaction. We have invoked KPID Act to ensure that the money which Ali returns will be returned to the investors under legal supervision,” said Alok Kumar, Additional Commissioner (crime), who is heading the investigation.

CCB sources say that Janardhana Reddy was aware of Ambidant’s activities and the allegations of financial fraud against it when the alleged transfer of Rs 20 crore was made through Mehfuz. “There is an RTGS transaction made to Ramesh, a Ballari-based jeweller who converted the money to gold which was then sent to reach Reddy’s beneficiaries in Ballari,” the source said.

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