Beginning of the end for Reddys?

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With Kampli MLA Suresh Babu and former tourism minister Janardhan Reddy behind bars, another Bellary MLA, Somashekhar Reddy set to be arrested in the Cash for bail scam and the trusted associate of the Reddys and Independent MLA B. Sriramulu likely to be named in the same case, politics in the mining hub of the state has come full circle.

The Reddy troika and their associates, who once reigned supreme in Bellary politics with their money and muscle power, have now been reduced to fighting legal battles to save their skin and make sure they do not lose all the wealth and clout they have accumulated in the past two decades. The leader likely to be most affected by the sudden turn of events following Suresh Babu’s arrest is Valmiki community leader and BSR Congress founder B. Sriramulu who was planning to make a big splash in state politics. Babu’s confessional statement to the Andhra Pradesh Anti-Corruption Bureau(ACB)—copies of which are available with Deccan Chronicle— says that it was Sriramulu who called him and informed him that one R. Suryaprakash Babu knew some judges in Hyderabad and was ready to help out in securing bail for jailed mine baron Janardhan Reddy.Sreeramulu also allegedly told Babu that Suryaprakash would be calling him on his mobile phone which he did and told the Kampli MLA that he knew a registrar of the AP high court who could influence the CBI special judge. The information was also conveyed to Janardhan’s elder brother, Somashekhar Reddy, said Babu.

This allegedly triggered off the chain of events leading to the grant of bail to Janardhan Reddy on May 11 for a bond of Rs 5 lakh and two sureties of the same amount by the CBI special court judge Pattabhi Rama Rao, who is one of the accused in the Cash for bail scam and has been suspended from service. The bail was subsequently cancelled by the high court after the scam came to light.

Babu said that he had visited Hyderabad on May 9, 2012, two days before Janardhan Reddy was granted the controversial bail. Somashekhar Reddy reportedly told him that one Yadagiri Rao—another accused in the Cash for bail scam—was ready to arrange a meeting with the son of CBI judge Pattabhi Rama Rao. According to the Kampli MLA, Yadagiri Rao demanded Rs 20 crore for influencing Pattabhi Rama Rao to grant bail to Janardhan Reddy—Rs 5 crore for Pattabhi Rama Rao, Rs 5 crore for a ‘vital link’, retired judge Chalapati Rao, Rs 5 crore for himself and Rs 5 crore for high court expenditure, to which Somashekhar Reddy reportedly agreed.

All the accused also meet at the residence of advocate Umamaheshwara Rao in Hyderabad on May 10, a day before bail was granted to Janardhan Reddy. They later had a meeting with the son of the controversial CBI judge when it was conveyed to him and Yadagiri Rao that the cash would be transferred only after the bail was granted, said Babu in his confession. Rs 10 crore was to be handed over after the bail was granted and Rs 10 crore after Somashekhar Reddy saw the bail order.

After bail was granted at around 4.45 pm on May 11, the accused met at Daspalla Hotel in Hyderabad where Somashekhar Reddy reportedly handed over the cash to Yadagiri Rao to complete the deal, Babu said. The MLA also disclosed to the ACB officials that he had thrown away his mobile phone and Sim card on coming to know that the CBI had started probing CBI special court judge Pattabhi Rama Rao.

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