Missing since 3 days, mining baron Janardhan Reddy appears before police in Rs18 cr bribery case

Mining baron and former Karnataka minister G Janardhana Reddy, who had been missing for the past three days, finally appeared for questioning at Bengaluru police’s crime branch office in an alleged bribery case on Saturday.

The crime branch had given him 48 hours to appear before it for an investigation into bribery charges against the former BJP minister. Reddy is accused of taking Rs 18 crore bribe to bail Syed Ahmed Fareed, accused in a Ponzi scheme case, out from the Enforcement Directorate investigation.

Reddy’s lawyer, CH Hanumantharaya, who earlier moved a city civil court on Friday seeking anticipatory bail, had told reporters that the minor baron would take a call on Saturday whether to appear before the CCB or not.

Reddy said he never panicked as his name neither figured in the first information (FIR) report nor was any notice served to him.

Speaking to media earlier today, Reddy confirmed his whereabouts. “I want to tell the media, I’m not in Hyderabad or anywhere else. I’m in Bangalore watching TV. [My] lawyer told me don’t worry if there’s a notice please go to the crime branch. I have got a notice from the crime branch, I’ll appear before the police. I’ll cooperate with the police. A wrong message shouldn’t go out to the public.”

According to the police, Fareed allegedly cheated around 15,000 people to the tune of Rs 600 crore through his company Ambidant Marketing Finance Ltd by promising them 40-50% interest on investment. After a complaint was filed against him by some members of the public last year, raids had been conducted on his offices and residences by the Enforcement Directorate earlier this year and his bank accounts were frozen.

Bengaluru police commissioner T Suneel Kumar said on Wednesday that during the investigation, the officials chanced upon a Rs18 crore transaction. It was found that the money was transferred from Ambidant to Ramesh Kothari, who runs a bullion business called Ambika Jewellers. Upon being questioned, Kothari said he had given 57 kg of gold to Ramesh, who runs Rajmahal Jewellers, and he revealed that he, in turn, had handed over the gold to Reddy’s assistant Ali Khan, he added.

Fareed told the police that he was promised by Reddy and others that they would “help him out” with the ED’s case. So far, Fareed and Ramesh of Rajmahal Jewellers have been arrested, and Kothari has been questioned, the police said.