BJP leaders jittery with Janardana in CBI custody

Reddy's bail was rejected by CBI special court and he has been remanded to CBI custody till September 19; sources in the investigative agency hinted that he spilled the beans about paying hefty sums to several senior leaders in the BJP

After the special CBI court remanded G Janardana Reddy to CBI custody and dropped hints about building cases against others linking them to the illegal mining scam based on Reddy's statement and evidence procured, senior BJP leaders have flown into a tizzy.

While Sushma Swaraj chose to stay away from Janardana Reddy's annual Varamahalakshmi celebrations at Bellary, BJP Chief Nitin Gadkari and Chief Minister D V Sadananda attended the event

The special CBI court rejected bail petition filed by the accused yesterday and remanded him to CBI custody till September 19 and he is currently being questioned at a guesthouse in Hyderabad.

While the beneficiaries of his illegal business transcend party lines, Janardana is believed to have spilled the beans about paying hefty amounts to several senior leaders from the BJP.

CBI Joint Director (Hyderabad Zone) V V Lakshmi Narayana told reporters that the agency would also investigate several others for involvement in the illegal mining case.

"We require more time for interrogation and will seek extension of Janardana's custody from the court if required," he said.

Spilling the beans
Stating that the media's constant trailing of witnesses was 'destroying evidence' in the case, Narayana requested that some restraint be observed.

CBI sleuths had arrested Janardana and his brother-in-law Srinivasa Reddy on September 5, and sought custody after presenting them before the court in Hyderabad.

Justice B Naga Maruthi Sharma, judge of the special CBI court, rejected the bail petition filed by the accused yesterday and remanded them to CBI custody till September 19.

While the CBI sleuths have already begun questioning the duo at a guesthouse in Hyderabad, Sushma Swaraj made a quick trip to Singapore.

Interestingly, the CBI is understood to have collected evidence to establish that the Reddys have front companies in Singapore and Hong Kong, through which they were evading taxes and transferring money to multiple accounts.

From a distance
However, BJP leaders said that Sushma's visit to Singapore had nothing to do with the CBI case against the Reddys.

They added that she was actually attending a convention to present a paper, along with a few leaders including Ananth Kumar.

Sushma, who was known as the godmother of the Reddys, recently disowned them saying that she was no party to their illegal business.

She also skipped here customary annual visit to Bellary to celebrate the Varamahalakshmi festival.

However, sources in the CBI said that the change in her political stand would not really help to save her from possible indictment in the case.

"How can she prove herself clean by just choosing not to attend a festival? The world has seen how close she was to the Reddys and how happily she used to accept gifts from them.

While this was in the public glare, it was up to the CBI to expose those BJP leaders benefiting from the Reddys. I think that is what the CBI is currently doing," said B K Hariprasad, AICC general secretary.

Across the lines
Regarding the possibility of Congress leaders being linked to the case, he said culprits must be booked irrespective of party lines.

While Sushma chose to stay away from the celebrations at Bellary, Gadkari attended and the Reddys gifted him a gold-coated sword.
Yeddyurappa, Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda, Ananth Kumar and other leaders were also present at the event.

In the backdrop of the CBI questioning Janardana, the Reddy camp is actively lobbying for him in Delhi.

Since Congress leaders are also among the beneficiaries of Reddy's illegal dealings the Reddy camp is allegedly seeking their help to bail him out and Sriramulu is camping at the capital to pull all strings possible to do so.

Interestingly, his visit to Delhi does reflect as official and his whereabouts are being kept under wraps.

Resignation in limbo
Sriramulu's resignation is still pending with speaker of the assembly, K G Bopiah. The BJP leadership is reportedly trying to retain him in the party to benefit in the Koppal by-polls and he in turn is bargaining with them to protect Janardana's interests.

Sriramulu resigned as the BJP legislator from Bellary (Rural), on September 4, a day before Janardana was arrested. Bopiah is taking time to accept his resignation, as the BJP leadership is still calculating the political fallout of the Janardana's arrest.

"I have asked for a clarification from Sriramulu, but he is yet to respond. I will wait for his clarification before accepting his resignation," Bopiah said.    

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