In a big relief for former Karnataka minister and tainted mining baron Gali Janardhana Reddy, the Supreme Court on Thursday allowed him to return and stay in his home district of Ballari. Reddy along with others was indicted in more than 60 illegal mining cases worth Rs 35,000 crore in 2011. He is out on bail after being jailed for more than three years in connection with the mining scam. He was granted bail on condition that he does not visit Ballari in Karnataka, Anantapur and Kadapa in Andhra Pradesh in 2015. The CBI which is probing the scam had been opposing his return to Ballari citing that he will intimidate witnesses.
Reddy was recently arrested in 2018 by Bengaluru Central Crime Branch of police in connection with his alleged involvement in the Ambidant ponzi scheme. It may be recalled that his indictment in the case had come with the then Lokayukta and former Supreme Court judge Justice Santosh Hegde submitting his probe report. The same development had also prompted the resignation of then Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa.
Reddy although away from active politics since his involvement in the scam was seen campaigning ahead of 2018 Assembly elections for his close friend and aide B Sriramulu who is currently a minister and an important ST leader for the BJP in Karnataka.
As the party had distanced itself from the tainted mining baron, he was asked to leave Molakalmuru in Chitradurga when then BJP national president Amit Shah (now union Home Minister) was visiting for election campaigning. However, just days before that Reddy had shared a stage with BS Yediyurappa.
Reddy who has been keeping a low profile otherwise since his bail in 2015 had spent a whopping Rs 500 crore on his daughterâ€™s wedding held in Bengaluru. During that time he was allowed to visit Ballari as an exception by the apex court.