BENGALURU: The Bengaluru Central Crime Branch (CCB) police are on the lookout for former minister and mining baron G Janardhana Reddy who is absconding after his name emerged during the probe of a multi-crore cheating case. He has allegedly received 57 kg of gold worth Rs 18 crore to help a businessman in a case being investigated by the Directorate of Enforcement (ED), according to police.
On Wednesday, the CCB team searched for him in Bengaluru, Ballari, Chitradurga and Hyderabad. Search warrant was also obtained and his house on Race Course Road was searched by the police. City Police Commissioner T Suneel Kumar said the CCB is probing a case in which Ambidant Marketing Pvt Ltd had cheated over 15,000 people to the tune of around Rs 600 crore by promising high-interest rates. “There was a raid on the firm by the ED officials in January, while the cheating cases booked against the firm by the public were entrusted to the CCB for further probe. During the investigation, it was found that the owner of the firm, Syed Ahmed Fareed, had 12 bank accounts and it was found that `18 crore was transferred to a bullion dealer in Bengaluru. When he was summoned for questioning, he revealed that he was paid to provide 57 kg of gold ingots to Ramesh, owner of Rajmahal Fancy Jewellers in Ballari,” the police chief said.
“When Ramesh was questioned, he admitted he had given the gold to Reddy’s aide Ali Khan. Further probe revealed that Fareed had approached Reddy and Khan seeking help in the ED case. He had offered to pay `20 crore for the ‘favour’ and Reddy allegedly demanded that everything should be given in gold.”
“Ali Khan introduced him to jeweller Ramesh, who purchased gold on behalf of Fareed and gave it to Reddy,” City Police Commissioner T Suneel Kumar said, adding that whether Reddy had paid money to any ED official is yet to be known.Fareed and Ramesh have already obtained bail from a court while Ali, who had applied for anticipatory bail, was granted bail by an ACMM court on Wednesday.
The ED officials had conducted search operation at Ambidant Pvt Ltd office located in Kanakanagar in RT Nagar, Bengaluru, in January early this year, police said. Fareed was looking for help in the matter and his friend, Brijesh Reddy, a builder and a resident of HSR Layout, offered him help saying he knew Ali Khan. Later, Fareed, his son, Janardhana Reddy, Ali Khan and Brijesh had met at a five star hotel on Race Course Road in March. Besides, there are several criminal cases against the firm, which promised 40-50 per cent of returns on investments in four months and cheated people.
Meanwhile, the CCB team went to Chitradurga district as part of the probe against Janardhana Reddy, on Wednesday. It is learnt that Reddy left the district and his guest house located at Hanagal just a day before Ballari Lok Sabha bypolls on November 3.
Superintendent of Police Chitradurga Dr Arun K said, “The probe related to Reddy’s involvement is being probed by CCB and the district police as yet not provided any support. In case they demand, we are ready to provide men. They would inform district police if any arrest is made.”
CASE NOT POLITICALLY MOTIVATED: COPS
The police clarified that the case was not politically motivated. “If that was the case, we would have arrested before the by-elections. We did not do that as it would have taken a political colour. We waited for the results to be announced and have come open only after that,” said Additional Commissioner of Police (Crime) Alok Kumar. It is learnt that senior police officers brought the issue to the notice of Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy and told him about the possibility of arresting Reddy. “But the CM asked us not to initiate any action against Reddy as it would give an impression that the government is targeting BJP leaders. He directed us to work on the case and gather strong evidence,” a senior officer said.
NOT PROBING AMBIDANT CASE: ED
Sources in the ED said the raid on Ambidant Pvt Ltd was not related to money laundering. “There was information that Fareed was running a foreign exchange business illegally in Dubai. Thus, we raided his office and found documents related to it. He has also paid penalty for it and the case is closed. We don’t know why the city police took ED’s name. Why and whom Janardhana Reddy will pay when there is no case against Fareed. We will ask information from the city police about the same,” an ED official said.