Reddys again move court for bail

Hyderabad: Even as the CBI is in the process of filing a chargesheet in the alleged illegal mining case of Obulapuram Mining Company (OMC), former Karnataka minister Gali Janardhana Reddy and the company`s Managing Director B V Srinivas Reddy on Tuesday moved bail applications in a local court for the third time after their arrests.

The counsels for the Reddys filed the bail pleas before Special Court for CBI cases here on the grounds that majority of the investigation (by the CBI) into the case was over and their clients were in remand for over two months and would not influence the witnesses. The court posted the matter to November 11 for hearing.

The CBI, probing illegal mining and irregularities in allotment of leases to OMC, had arrested Janardhana, who owns OMC and his brother-in-law Srinivas, on September 5 from Bellary in Karnataka. The duo has been remanded in judicial custody till November 14 and lodged in a jail here.

The court had earlier rejected their bail pleas on September 13 and had handed them over to CBI custody for interrogation till September 19. While on September 30, the court while again dismissing the bail petitions of Reddy had also dismissed the agency?s petition which sought custody of both the accused for nine more days.

CBI Joint Director (Hyderabad Zone) V V Lakshmi Narayana had recently said that a chargesheet would be filed soon within 90 days after the arrests in the OMC case.

Meanwhile, former Andhra Pradesh Mines and Geology director V D Rajagopal, who has also been named as an accused in the Obulapuram Mining Company "scam" along with senior IAS officer Y Srilakshmi, on Tuesday said, "the then Y S Rajasekhara Reddy government gave red carpet treatment to OMC…it is a fact".

"The company (OMC) was given top priority as they are going to set up big industries (Brahmani Industries steel plant in Kadapa district). So the Andhra Pradesh government gave all sanctions and permits (on mining)," he said.

Rajagopal said he was cooperating with the CBI saying "all details what all I know I told them (CBI). I am a middle level-officer. I was not the sanctioning authority. I followed the rules with regard to process of the applications".

Rajagopal, who was also the former managing director of Andhra Pradesh Mining Development Corporation has been accused, along with others, of allowing mining on `encroached` land in the Bellary Reserve Forest area, construction of roads through forest area and encroachment on neighbouring leases on the Anantapur-Bellary border.

OMC is accused of changing mining lease boundary markings between Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka and indulging in "illegal" mining in Bellary Reserve Forest area between Bellary district of Karnataka and Anantpur district of Andhra Pradesh.

CBI has allegedly found irregularities in certain leases given to OMC between 2005 and 2009 when Srilakshmi was the secretary of Andhra Pradesh`s industries department. The probe agency had earlier recorded and searched residence of Srilakshmi, who is now commissioner (health).