BENGALURU: Gali Janardhana Reddy, alleged kingpin of the multi-crore illegal mining scam, is set to walk free by Saturday. After spending three years and four months in jail, the former Karnataka minister on Tuesday secured bail from the Supreme Court in the Obulapuram Mining Company (OMC) case.
Reddy has already got bail in four other cases in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, all related to illegal mining.
Currently lodged in the Parappana Agrahara jail in Bengaluru, he is expected to be released in the next two or three days, once the formalities are done.
The Obulapuram case is being heard by a CBI court in Hyderabad, and the Supreme Court order will have to reach that city, and bail conditions laid down. Once the paper work is completed, the CBI court will issue an order to release Reddy.
The CBI had arrested him with his brother-in-law Srinivas Reddy, managing director of OMC, on September 5, 2011. They were taken from Ballari in Karnataka to Hyderabad. Janardhana Reddy’s company allegedly changed boundary markings and even mined in reserve forest areas.
Reddy, who lorded over Karnataka politics for three years when the BJP was in power, has been languishing in jail since September 5, 2011.
This is perhaps the longest jail term an Indian politician charged with economic offences has served as an undertrial.
A Supreme Court bench comprising Chief Justice H L Dattu, Justice A K Sikri and Justice Arun Mishra granted conditional bail to Reddy after the CBI said its investigation was complete, and it had no objection to his release.
The court directed Reddy to furnish two sureties of `10 lakh each. Asking him to surrender his passport, the court barred him from leaving the country without its permission. It also barred him from visiting his turf of Ballari district in Karnataka and Kadapa and Anantapur districts in Andhra Pradesh. It warned him against making any effort to destroy evidence or influence witnesses.
The courts are looking at many serious criminal charges against Reddy: illegal mining and transport of iron ore, bribing a judge to get bail, stealing and exporting confiscated ore from the Belikeri port and altering the border between Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
State BJP chief Prahlad Joshi said that there was no question of taking Reddy back into the party, but former minister K S Eshwarappa said the idea would be discussed at a party meet.