Hyderabad: A special court in Hyderabad adjourned hearings until Thursday on a petition by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for custody of mining baron and former Karnataka minister G. Janardhan Reddy and his brother-in-law B.V. Srinivas Reddy, arrested and imprisoned on charges of illegal mining in Andhra Pradesh.
The CBI special court also adjourned until Thursday hearings on bail petitions filed by the two Reddys, who were arrested in Karnataka on Monday by a team of investigators from Andhra Pradesh and brought to Hyderabad. Judge Naga Maruthi Sharma asked the investigating agency to file a counter petition against the Reddy’s request for bail by 4 pm on Wednesday.
The CBI is seeking 15-day custody of Janardhan Reddy and Srinivas Reddy, who is managing director of Bellary, Karnataka-based Obulapuram Mining Co., to question them about the company’s mining activities in Andhra Pradesh. The two were remanded in judicial custody for 14 days and sent to Hyderabad’s Chanchalguda jail after their arrest on Monday.
Janardhan Reddy faces various criminal charges related to the Andhra Pradesh branch of the two-state multi-billion-dollar mining empire he runs with two brothers, popularly called the Bellary brothers, and other members of the family. His premises and those of Srinivas Reddy in Karnataka were searched on Monday by the CBI, which seized cash, gold and documents.
Lawyer Uday Lalit, representing Janardhan Reddy, argued in court that there was no reason for his client to be kept in custody because the CBI has already interviewed 86 witnesses in connection with the case and seized several documents. Lalit asked the court to direct the CBI to share with the defence the evidence it has so far collected.
CBI counsel B. Ravindranath responded that the agency was ready to submit the documents in court when required.
CBI joint director V.V. Lakshminarayana declined substantive comment on the case
“We are waiting for custody of the accused,” he told reporters outside the courtroom. “Beyond that I have nothing to comment.”
Security was reinforced with the deployment of paramilitary troops and sniffer dogs at the special court in Hyderabad’s crowded Nampally area following a bomb blast near the Delhi high court on Wednesday.