Bengaluru: The 1st Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (ACMM) court in Bengaluru on Wednesday granted bail to former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) minister and illegal iron ore mining kingpin, Gali Janardhana Reddy, in an alleged bribery case0.

The court granted bail after taking two sureties and a bond of Rs1 lakh.

The bail comes as relief to the controversial former minister who was released from jail in 2015 after nearly four years for his alleged role in the illegal mining scandal that eventually led to the downfall of the first BJP government in Karnataka.

“Janardhana Reddy was granted bail, because prima facie there was no connection with Ambident, which allegedly floated a ponzi scheme," R.P. Chandrashekar, the counsel representing the mining baron, said.

He added that if all the court procedures were completed, Reddy could be released from jail this evening.

Reddy has been lodged in Parappana Agrahara central Jail in Bengaluru since Sunday, when he was arrested after around 20 hours of questioning by the central crime branch (CCB) police. “This is political vendetta," the advocate said, attributing political mala fide to the investigating agencies.

Reddy was being probed for his suspected links to the main accused Syed Ahmed Fareed, whose role in a 600-crore ponzi scheme is being investigated by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

The Bengaluru Police had earlier said Fareed claimed to have paid around 18 crore to Reddy in the form of cash and around 57 kg 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 Ramesh Kothari, owner of Ambika Jewellers, to Ramesh, owner of Rajmahal Jewellers, until it reached Reddy’s assistant Ali Khan.

Khan, in an affidavit before court, has agreed to return the money took. He has claimed to have taken a loan from Ambident Marketing. Khan is accused of being the conducit for the transaction.

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, which was carrying out a parallel investigation into the scam, found links to a transaction between the ponzi scheme operator and Reddy.

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