Mining baron Reddy’s office, house raided by Lokayukta sleuths

Ballari, Karnataka: Lokayukta police on Tuesday raided the premises of former minister and mining baron Janardhan Reddy for alleged illegal mining and possession of disproportionate assets.

A 42-member team of sleuths from the anti-graft watchdog was involved in the operation, a Lokayukta official said. Documents pertaining to exports of allegedly illegal iron ore and property were seized during the raids led by Lokayukta deputy superintendent of police Sampath Kumar, the official said.

Reddy is under probe by both CBI and Lokayukta for alleged illegal mining deals linked to Oblapuram Mining Company (OMC) and other cases.

Speaking to reporters in the midst of raids, BJP lok sabha member B. Sriramulu, a one-time close associate of Reddy, alleged that the raids were nothing but “political vendetta" by the Siddaramaiah government.

Sriramulu alleged that the Congress government in the state was using Lokayukta with “political motives". He said he would soon file a complaint with the CBI against some close associates of the chief minister and his son, alleging their links with illegal sand mining.

The once powerful Reddy from the mine-rich Ballari district spent about 40 months in jail before being out on bail in January this year. Reddy and his brother-in-law B.V. Srinivas Reddy, managing director of OMC, were arrested by CBI on 5 September, 2011 from Ballari.

OMC is accused of changing mining lease boundary markings and indulging in illegal mining in the Ballari reserve forest area, spread over Ballari in Karnataka and Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh.