Bengaluru: Once among the most powerful men in Karnataka, G Janardhan Reddy left a jail in Bengaluru today, where he was moved from a Hyderabad prison in March 2013. He has spent three years in jail.
Worried about supporters creating trouble, the police had banned large groups from gathering in the area near the prison where Mr Reddy, 48, was jailed in a string of cases accusing him of corruption and illegal mining, enabled by muscular political connections. In recent weeks, he was granted bail in those cases, with the CBI saying that since it had completed collecting evidence against him, it has no objection to him being allowed to go home.
Mr Reddy was a minister till months before he was arrested in September 2011 by the CBI.
His ownership, along with his two brothers, of mines in Bellary, home to huge iron ore deposits, powered Mr Reddy’s political career.
Mr Reddy and his older brother, G Karunakara Reddy, were ministers in the BJP government headed by BS Yeddyurappa till July 2011. That’s when the Lokaykta, or ombudsman, retired Supreme Court judge Santosh Hegde, indicted them for blatantly breaking mining laws. Mr Reddy, who had leases for mines in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh, had allegedly corrupted officials into changing the border demarcating the states to be able to mine illegally in Karnataka. He was also accused of forcing other mine owners in the area to give him a share of their output. The iron ore was then allegedly moved to Bellary from where it would be exported to China, where the Olympic Games had forged a boom in demand.Mr Reddy and his two brothers, the sons of a police constable, earned the attention of top leaders of the BJP in 1999, when they backed the campaign of Sushma Swaraj, who took on Congress president Sonia Gandhi for the Parliamentary seat from Bellary. Ms Swaraj lost the election, but the Reddys had proved their worth. When the BJP won the state
election in 2008, coming to power in Karnataka for the first time, the Reddys’ influence was immense.
When he was arrested, Mr Reddy was jailed in Andhra Pradesh. But he was moved to Bengaluru’s central prison in March 2013 to appear in a local court where he is being tried.