Karnataka mining baron Reddy freed on bail in Ponzi case

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Bengaluru, Nov 14 (IANS) Karnataka’s mining baron Gali Janardhana Reddy was set free from the city central jail on Wednesday hours after a local court granted him bail in an alleged Ponzi-related bribery case.

“The jail superintendent allowed Reddy to walk free out of the Parapanna Agrahara prison after his counsel submitted the bail order from the court,” a police officer told IANS.

Earlier, Additional City Metropolitan Magistrate V. Jagdish granted bail to Reddy with Rs 1-lakh bond and two sureties of the same amount.

“Granting the bail, the judge, however, warned Reddy against tampering with evidence or influencing the witnesses and directed him to cooperate with the case investigation by the state Central Crime Branch (CCB),” said the official.

Reddy, 51, was arrested and jailed on Sunday after the judge remanded him in 14-judicial custody for allegedly helping the two accused in the Ponzi scam from being investigated by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

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Reddy’s counsel Chandrashekar told reporters later that the bail was granted, as the prosecution failed to provide evidence of his client’s nexus with the accused of the investment firm Ambidant Marketing Ltd.

The city-based firm is alleged to have duped about 15,000 investors by raising Rs 954 crore through a Ponzi scheme over the last 2-3 years.

“My client (Reddy) was fixed in the Ambidant case unnecessarily. The CCB sleuths had grilled him for over 24 hours on November 10-11 at their office when he appeared before them on summons,” charged Chandrashekhar.

Stepping out of the jail, Reddy told reporters that he was named as an accused without evidence and accused Karnataka Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy of taking revenge on him by dragging him in the Ponzi case.

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“A false case was foisted on me. No notice was given to me earlier about the case. It is unfair to call me an accused even before the CCB served notice or summoned me for interrogation,” recalled Reddy.

Alleging that there was no safety for him under the present (JD-S-Congress) coalition government, the former BJP minister said an unsafe environment was created around his house in Bengaluru and Ballari in the state’s northwest region.

“I feel sorry for not been able to pay last respects to Union Minister Ananth Kumar as I was in the jail since Sunday night,” lamented Reddy.

Kumar, 59, died on Monday at a private hospital in the city and was cremated on Tuesday with full state honours.

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The CCB had accused Reddy of taking Rs 2 crore in cash and 57 kg gold valued at Rs 18 crore from the accused Syed Ahmed Fareed and his son Syed Afaq Ahmed of Ambidant to allegedly bribe ED officials probing their Ponzi scam.

“The CCB charged Reddy with cheating, forgery and conspiracy, but failed to prove his involvement in the case,” reiterated the counsel.

State Home Minister G. Parameshwara, however, denied any intention behind Reddy’s arrest and said the police were working within the legal framework.

–IANS

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