Court allows attachment of 82 properties of Janardhana Reddy and wife

A special court in Bengaluru has ordered for the attachment of 82 immovable properties belonging to former minister and accused in the illegal iron ore mining scam in Ballari, G Janardhana Reddy and his wife G Lakshmi Aruna.

The Special Court exclusively to deal with criminal cases related to elected former and sitting MPs/MLAs in Karnataka gave its order on June 12 on a petition filed by the Anti-Corruption Branch of the Central Bureau of Investigation.

The CBI had sought the attachment of six properties of Janardhana Reddy and 118 properties in the name of Lakshmi Aruna.

However, the court allowed the attachment of five properties in the name of Reddy as one of the six listed by the CBI was not in his name.

As for the properties in the name of Lakshmi Aruna, the court found that she had “acquired some of the properties prior to the date of offence i.e., 01.01.2009. Those cannot be attached and it cannot be said that those properties were acquired by the Objector by means of offence alleged,” the Court said and allowed only 77 of the 118 properties to be attached.

The attachment is connected to the 2012 complaint against Government officials for involvement in the Ballari illegal iron ore mining scam.

After investigation by the CBI, a supplementary charge sheet included the names of Janardhana Reddy and others in the case in 2013.

The CBI claimed that there were “reason to believe that G Janardhana Reddy had acquired majority of the assets mentioned in the schedule of properties through the proceeds of the aforesaid offences,” and sought their attachment in an application filed in the case.

The Court ordered in 2021 that the application be delinked and a separate case be filed.

A criminal miscellaneous petition was filed by the CBI in 2022 seeking the attachment. The Court’s order allowing the attachment was passed on June 12, 2023.

There are 21 accused in the case. The Special Court recorded that the CBI had claimed “The respondent has committed alleged offences causing a loss of Rs.198 crores to the Government Exchequer, towards illegal sale and export of iron ore quantity 6.05 lakh MT.

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The properties sought to be attached as per the schedule are worth Rs 65.05 crore which are purportedly acquired though the proceeds of the crime by respondent in his name as well as in the name of his wife and his companies.”

Allegedly the illegal iron ore was sold to Ms Eagle Traders and Logistics and further sold to SB Logistics which was illegally mined and transported through the help of the other accused including government officials.

Reddy’s wife is also a partner in the Associated Mining Company which is in the centre of the mining scam. Another company of Reddy, Obalapuram Mining Company is also mired in related illegal mining scam.

Reddy and Lakshmi Aruna could have provided security in lieu of the attachment. The Court noted that they have not done so and went ahead with the order of attachment.

“So far from the date of filing this petition, neither the respondent nor the objector have applied seeking permission to give security in lieu of such attachment and offered to give security to the satisfaction of this Court. The respondent and objector could have avoided attachment order by furnishing security to the satisfaction of this Court. They have not made any attempt. Instead they have contested the petition,” the Court noted.

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