Bengaluru: Former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) minister and mining baron Gali Janardhana Reddy was arrested on Sunday by the Bengaluru Police in a bribery related case.

Reddy and an aide were held for questioning on Saturday after several days since he allegedly went missing.

Alok Kumar, additional commissioner of police, central crime branch (CCB) said the arrest was made on the basis of “credible evidence and witness statements".

The arrest of Reddy, who is facing allegations of running an illegal mining network in Ballari district, comes after searches and raids across several of his properties. He is being probed for his suspected links to the main accused Syed Ahmed Fareed, who is under Enforcement Directorate (ED) investigation in a 600-crore ponzi scheme.

The Bengaluru Police said Fareed claimed to have paid 18 crore to Reddy (in the form of cash and around 57kg of gold) to help “settle" the case with the ED. According to the police, the money changed hands at least three times from Fareed to Ambika Jewellers owner Ramesh Kothari to Rajmahal Jewellers owner Ramesh, until it reached Reddy’s assistant, Ali Khan.

Fareed is accused of duping around 15,000 people through his company Ambident Marketing Finance Ltd by promising returns as high as 40-50%. Though the investigation against Fareed had commenced earlier this year, CCB that was carrying out a parallel investigation into the scam, found links to a transaction between the ponzi scheme operator and Reddy.

Reddy, once among the BJP’s most powerful leaders in Karnataka, fell in bad times after he was jailed for his alleged role in illegal mining. Reddy, who has been restricted from entering the mineral-rich district of Ballari, has continued to wield his influence over the BJP, as at least six people associated with him were given tickets to contest the May assembly elections. Reddy had camped in a farm house in Molakalmuru (Chitradurga district), just outside Ballari, from where he helped his close aide B. Sriramulu fight the elections in May as well the 3 November bypolls in five constituencies including Ballari parliamentary seats.

Reddy, who was released from jail after nearly four years in 2015, made news once again a year later when he allegedly spent around 500 crore on the wedding of his daughter in Bengaluru. The wedding, which saw several politicians including some from the Congress in attendance, was held just days after the 8 November 2016 demonetization announcement.

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