CBI has reportedly gathered sufficient evidence to prove that top BJP leaders benefited from irregularities committed by Karnataka mining baron; more arrests to follow
After being mired in controversy and scams, the Congress has now got a golden opportunity to turn the tables on the BJP on corruption issues after the arrest of former minister G Janardana Reddy by the CBI. The investigative agency has reportedly gathered sufficient evidence to prove that top BJP leaders are benefiting from the irregularities committed by the Karnataka mining baron.
A highly placed source in the CBI said that the investigative agency had traced transactions conducted by the Reddys and had enough leads to prove that senior BJP leaders enjoyed kickbacks. The source said once Janardana is taken into CBI custody, the agency would record his statement before corroborating the evidence and mentioning names in the charge sheet.
The list includes BJP national president Nitin Gadkari, leader of the opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj, leader of the opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley, senior leader Venkiah Naidu and former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa.
"The investigation is still underway with CEC probing on the same issue. While illegal mining is one aspect, financial irregularities are the major issue we are looking at. There is a strong base to establish that these leaders have benefited from the illegal business and there are possibilities of them figuring in the charge sheet," said the source.
While it might take some time before these leaders are called for questioning, the CBI is expected to speed up investigations after taking Janardana into custody. The CBI special court remanded him to judicial custody on Monday and he will be placed in the Chanchala Guda Central Jail in Hyderabad till September 19. The CBI has sought custody of the accused in the case and the court will hear the petition today when Janardana's bail petition comes up for hearing.
Before the senior BJP leaders are called for enquiry, the CBI is expected to arrest some of the close aides of Janardana directly involved in his business. The arrest of his wife Aruna Lakshmi, his brothers G Karunakara Reddy and G Somashekara Reddy and B Sriramulu are not ruled out.
CBI sources said that the investigators have traced the money trial to the Hong Kong, Singapore, Maldives and Mauritius through front companies run by the Reddys, and there were cases of tax evasion through under invoicing and money laundering.
They have also traced money transfers to multiple accounts from the mining companies run by the Reddys and records are being built up to show huge sum of money going to the top BJP leaders.
"The Congress was on the backfoot in the wake of 2G spectrum scam and CWG scandal, while the party was shown under bad light in the Anna Hazare episode. Now however, the BJP will be at the receiving end in the Reddy episode," said a senior Congress leader.
declining to give his official reaction, B K Hariprasad, AICC general secretary, said, "It is obvious that the BJP leaders are beneficiaries of the Reddy dealings in Karnataka, while the party itself was benefited to come to power. However, I would not like to react on specific issues when the issue is still under investigation."