Mining baron and ex-minister Janardhana Reddy remanded in Ponzi scam

Mining baron Janardhana Reddy arrested in ponzi scam
Reddy had on Saturday appeared before the police and denied the allegations.
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Bengaluru: Mining baron and former Karnataka minister G Janardhana Reddy was arrested here Sunday after marathon questioning by police in connection with a multi-crore Ponzi scam case, a top police official said.

Reddy, whose whereabouts were not known and remained incommunicado since Wednesday till he appeared at the Central Crime Branch (CCB) police office Saturday, was arrested after the intense questioning ended Sunday morning, Additional Commissioner of Police (Crime) Alok Kumar told reporters.

He was produced before the 6th Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate court, which remanded him to judicial custody till November 24.

The CCB had been on the look out for Reddy, who was declared absconding by police last week in connection with a transaction worth crores of rupees allegedly linked to the ponzi scheme fraud involving hundreds of crores of rupees.

Reddy has been booked under IPC Sections 204 (destruction of evidence), 120(b) (criminal conspiracy and 420 (cheating), his lawyer R P Chandrashekhar said.

Reddy was also booked under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002, he said.

The intense grilling, which began Friday afternoon lasted till around 2 AM and continued this morning and Reddy had to sleep in the CCB office, police said.

Before being produced in the court, Reddy was subjected to a medical examination.

Reddy, who was allegedly on the run, had turned up before police along with his advocates Saturday evening after making a dramatic appearance in a video, saying he was not absconding and would present himself before police.

He has claimed the allegations against him were part of a "political conspiracy".

While it was earlier stated the CCB also detained Reddy's close aide, Ali Khan, in the case, the ACP later said since Khan had obtained bail from the sessions court, police faced a technical problem in effecting his arrest as of now.

The CCB was on the lookout for Khan, who had allegedly struck a Rs 20-crore deal with Syed Ahmed Fareed of Ambidant Marketing Pvt Ltd, a company accused of involvement in the ponzi scheme, to bail him (Fareed) out from the Enforcement Directorate investigation.

During investigation, Fareed who is on bail, had claimed he had paid the money so as to get help from Reddy in connection with ED probe.

Reddy Saturday denied the allegations against him as a "political conspiracy."

In a video message shortly before he came to the CCB, the Ballari-based Reddy had said he was not absconding and was very much in the city, while asserting that there was no need for him to flee.

Reddy's close confidant Sriramulu's sister J Shantha, a BJP candidate, lost in the by-polls from Ballari Lok Sabha constituency, considered a strong hold of the Reddy brothers.

The Congress won the seat breaking BJP's grip over Ballari since 2004.

However, police have said there was no political connection to the probe and they were working on the case for the last 20 days, but waited till November 3 for the bypolls to be over for further action, so that it was not politicised.

Reddy, a minister during the previous BJP rule, had been arrested by the CBI in 2011 over alleged multi-crore illegal mining scam and granted bail three years later. He had reigned supreme in what was then infamously called the "Republic" of Ballari.

According to the police, Fareed has claimed that he paid the money because he was promised help by Reddy in connection with the ED probe.

Fareed had set up Ambidant around 2017 promising returns of about 40 to 50 per cent for investment.

Lured by the promise, thousands of people invested their money in the company, which initially paid good returns, attracting more and more investors.

However, as it failed to pay the promised returns later, cases were registered against it and during January- February ED had also raided it.

Meanwhile, Fareed had allegedly met Reddy through Khan requesting for help in bailing him out of ED the case, and Rs 20 crore was demanded in the form of gold through a jeweller known to them in Ballari, according to police.

During the investigation, the CCB found a particular transaction of Rs 18 crore being paid by Ambidant to Ramesh Kothari, who runs Ambika Jewellers in Bengaluru.

Kothari on questioning said he had given 57 kg of gold to a jeweller named Ramesh, who runs Raj Mahal Fancy Jewellers in Ballari.

Ramesh, who has since been arrested, had claimed that the gold was handed over to Khan.

Police had also said they were having photographs of some meetings to prove Reddy's direct link to this case.

Earlier speaking to reporters, Reddy's lawyer Chandrasekhar said the sessions court would hear his client's bail application Monday.

"My client was produced before the Judge and he has granted time till tomorrow to file objection on main bail application. The court will take up the application for hearing tomorrow," he said.

Chandrasekhar alleged that Reddy was arrested in spite of him cooperating with the investigation.

"My client has been cooperating with the investigation. Despite that, the investigating officers arrested him, saying that are some leads, which police wants to establish,"he said.

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