New Delhi, June 7 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Friday pulled up the CBI for failing to frame charges even after 6 years in a mining case against former Karnataka minister and mining baron Gali Janardhana Reddy.
Reddy had moved the apex court seeking permission to visit Ballari to see his father-in-law recuperating from a health condition and currently admitted in the ICU of a local hospital.
The court had scheduled the hearing on the matter for Friday.
Gramting Reddy two weeks, beginning from June 8, to visit Ballari and attend to his ailing father-in-law, the apex court sought a concrete reply from the CBI regarding the reason for the long delay in framing charges in the case.
“Even 6 yrs down the line charges have not been framed yet. Why? We would like to know ..we are concerned”, said a bench comprising Justices Indira Banerjee and Ajay Rastogi
The CBI counsel contended that Reddy has been delaying the trial proceedings by filing applications at various stages of the trial. And, this is his seventh application in the apex court to visit Ballari after being granted bail in the matter.
Senior advocate S. Ganesh denied that there had been complaints against Reddy for violating any bail conditions.
“He had earlier been to Ballari for three weeks, but there had been no complaints against him. His father-in-law had three bypass surgeries and we have already placed medical records to establish the same”, Ganesh submitted before the court.
The CBI counsel contended that Reddy has been seeking permission to visit Ballari on one pretext or another.
“He had already been Ballari for his daughter’s wedding, and then again wanted to visit Ballari to attend one of his friend’s daughter’s wedding…he had already diluted the conditions imposed on his bail”, submitted the CBI counsel.
The court observed that the delay in framing charges cannot be justified, and it is the burden of the prosecution to counter delay.
The CBI counsel informed the court that nearly 300 witnesses have been listed in the case, and that Reddy is the main accused. Besides, he alleged, Reddy’s accomplices have been delaying the trial against him.
Reddy’s counsel objected to this claim and asked the court to record his objections.
“The reason for going to Ballari is simple, as he has his family there” he contended.
On Thursday, Reddy’s counsel submitted before the court that his father-in-law had suffered a stroke and is under observation in the ICU of a Ballari hospital in Karnataka.
Reddy’s counsel contended that the top court had earlier relaxed the bail conditions, which allowed him to visit his home district of Ballari.
In March, the court had declined to entertain a plea to modify Reddy’s bail condition to visit Ballari. He has been barred by a judicial order to visit his home district.
In 2015, Reddy was granted a conditional bail after being lodged in jail for more than three years. He had then contended before the court that the restraining order regarding his visit to Ballari has become redundant. He said that permission should be granted to him to visit his family and friends in Ballari, as he has never violated any bail condition.
The CBI in September 2011 arrested Reddy and his brother-in-law B.V. Srinivas Reddy, managing director of the Obalapuram Mining Company (OMC). They were moved to Hyderabad after their arrest from Ballari.
While granting bail, the court had restrained Reddy from visiting Ballari, in addition to Ananthapur and Kadapa in Andhra Pradesh.
The case registered against the Reddys’ is in connection with altering the mining lease boundary, and engaging in illegal mining in Ballari Reserve Forest Area. This area is spread over Ballari and Anantapur.