SC to hear Ex-minister Gali Janardhana Reddy’s plea to visit Bellari in summer break

PTI, May 24, 2021, 2:01 PM IST

New Delhi: The Supreme Court Monday agreed to hear during ongoing summer vacation the plea of former Karnataka minister and mining baron Gali Janardhana Reddy seeking permission to visit his hometown Ballari which was prohibited while being granted bail in a mining case.

Reddy, accused in a multi-crore illegal mining case, is out on bail since 2015 and several conditions including prohibiting him from visiting Ballari in Karnataka and Ananthapur and Kadapa in Andhra Pradesh were imposed by the apex court in its order.

A vacation bench comprising Ashok Bhushan and M R Shah took note of Reddy’s fresh plea seeking permission to visit Ballari and said the matter would be listed before another bench probably next week by Chief Justice N V Ramana.

On April 5, a bench comprising Justices Bhushan and R Subhash Reddy had reserved a verdict on a similar plea by Reddy seeking modification of the bail conditions imposed by the apex court in 2015.

“I have discussed with Justice Reddy. He has also consented to the release of the matter. It will be listed before another bench during the vacation only,” Justice Bhsuhan said on Monday, adding the date of hearing and the bench would be decided by the CJI.

The CBI, represented by Additional Solicitor General Madhavi Divan, opposed the plea of senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Reddy, that the interim application be listed during the summer break itself, saying, “It looks like a side wind to get into Ballary”.

The law officer said the bench had already reserved its order on the similar plea after the arguments got over.

Earlier also, the CBI had opposed Reddy’s similar plea saying that he should not be allowed to visit district Bellary in Karnataka as he holds considerable influence and might interfere with the investigation

“He has led multiple petitions, witnesses under police protection have been threatened and vehicles have been set on fire. Over 40 witnesses are there. We do not know what will happen if this gentleman is allowed to enter the area,” the probe agency had said.

Reddy was granted conditional bail by the apex court in January 2015 after spending more than three years in jail.

Reddy and his brother-in-law B V Srinivas Reddy, managing director of the Obalapuram Mining Company (OMC), were arrested by CBI on September 5, 2011 from Ballari and brought to Hyderabad.

The company 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.

“He shall surrender his passport, if not already surrendered, to the learned Principal Special Judge for CBI Cases, Hyderabad. If he has already surrendered his passport before the learned Principal Special Judge, that fact should also be supported by an affidavit,” the top court had said while granting bail.

Reddy shall not leave the country without the leave of the trial judge, it had said.

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