Reddys’ CBI custody hearing adjourned

Reddys’ CBI custody hearing adjourned

Hyderabad: A Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) special court will hear a CBI petition for custodial questioning of mining tycoon and former Karnataka minister G. Janardhan Reddy on the same day it is due to take up bail pleas filed by the Reddys, arrested in connection with alleged illegal mining in Andhra Pradesh.

Judge Naga Maruthi Sharma on Friday adjourned the hearing on the CBI petition, seeking nine extra days’ custody, until 29 September as defence counsel failed to turn up at the court amid a lawyers’ boycott of court proceedings as part of the campaign for a separate state of Telangana. On Thursday, he had adjourned the hearing on the Reddy’s bail petitions for the same reason.

The Telangana region, comprising 10 districts of Andhra Pradesh, has been hit by a general strike enforced by pro-statehood activists since 13 September.

Janardhan Reddy and Srinivas Reddy were sent to judicial custody on Monday by the special court after six days of questioning by the CBI. In its petition, the CBI has sought more time to interrogate the duo as part of its ongoing investigation. It has also opposed bail for the accused on grounds that they may intimidate witnesses and tamper with evidence.

Janardhan Reddy, a director of Obulapuram Mining Co. (OMC) based in the Karnataka district of Bellary, and Srinivas Reddy, the company’s managing director, were arrested by CBI on 5 September in Karnataka and brought to Andhra Pradesh.

CBI’s case is that some Andhra Pradesh government officials had connived with OMC to grant the lease of the Antar Gangamakonda mine in Anantpur to the company. The mine was used to “legitimize" the iron ore mined illegally in Karnataka, the agency contends. The ore was transported from Karnataka to Anantapur from where it was transported elsewhere and sold, it says. The Reddys have denied wrongdoing.