Karnataka mining baron Janardhana Reddy arrested

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) early Monday arrested former Karnataka minister and mining baron Galli Janardhana Reddy in an illegal mining case, police said

A CBI team from Hyderabad arrested Janardhana Reddy after raiding his residence at Bellary. He has been taken to Hyderabad for interrogation in connection with the case registered against his Obbalapuram Mining Company (OMC), a senior police officer told IANS.

The CBI also arrested OMC managing director and Janardhana Reddy's brother-in-law B. Srinivasa Reddy after raiding his residence in Bellary and Ananthapur in the neighbouring Andhra Pradesh.

"The CBI has sought our assistance in carrying out the raids and arrests. The arrests are in connection with the CBI probe into OMC's activities in Andhra Pradesh," said the police official, refusing to be named.

A 10-member team of the federal investigative agency led by Joint Director V.V. Lakshminarayana raided the Bellary residence of Janardhana Reddy and arrested him around 6.30 a.m. His home in Bangalore was also searched.

He is likely to be produced before the CBI court in Hyderabad in the afternoon.

The arrests were made in connection with a case registered by CBI against OMC in 2009 for illegal mining in the forest area of Andhra Pradesh bordering Karnataka.

The powerful Janardhana Reddy, Srinivas Reddy and others were booked for criminal conspiracy, cheating and under various sections of mining and forests acts.

Janardhana Reddy was recently indicted by then Karnataka Lokayukta (ombudsman) N. Santosh Hegde for his alleged role in the multi-crore mining scam in the state.

Interestingly, the arrests were also made at a time when the CBI is probing the alleged illegal assets of MP Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy, son of late Andhra Pradesh chief minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy. Janardhana Reddy was close to the former chief minister and his son.

In late 2009, the central government ordered a CBI probe against OMC on the recommendation of then Andhra Pradesh chief minister K. Rosaiah.

Janardhana Reddy was tourism minister in the cabinet of B.S. Yeddyurappaa, who had to resign recently in the wake of the Lokayukta report. His elder brother G. Karunakara was revenue minister while younger brother G. Somashekara is an assembly member from Bellary.

The arrests were made a day after Reddy's associate and former minister B. Sreeramulu resigned from his assembly seat, protesting the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) denial to give him a ministerial berth and keeping the Bellary Reddy brothers out of council of ministers.

Hailing from Andhra Pradesh's Chittoor district, the Reddy brothers made Karnataka's iron ore rich district of Bellary, about 390 km from Hyderabad, their home.

The Reddys, who were small businessmen, became billionaires after entering into mining 10 years ago.

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