G Janardhan Reddy is Absconding. Why No Action Was Taken Against the Karnataka mining baron During Demonetisation, Asks EAS Sarma
Amidst reports of Karnataka mining baron and former minister G Janardhan Reddy absconding and police issuing a look out notice against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader, EAS Sarma, former secretary of the Government of India, has reminded the Prime Minister about his 2016 request for action.
Mr Sarma says, soon after demonetisation, he wrote two letters to PM Narendra Modi requesting investigation in the lavish marriage arrangements made by Mr Janardhan Reddy for his daughter's marriage.
"Mr Janardhan Reddy, as reported by the press at this time, is absconding and the police are trying to apprehend him. Had the Central government intervened decisively in 2016 on my letters, Mr Janardan Reddy would have been brought to book and the subsequent acts of malfeasance could have been prevented," Mr Sarma says in a letter sent to the prime minister.
Mr Sarma says, Mr Janardan Reddy was reported to have splurged money all around, in open defiance of demonetisation. "My letter dated 6 December 2016 referred to a suicide note left by a driver on how Mr Janardan Reddy and his associates had exchanged Rs100 crore of illegal currency notes in a bank. I therefore requested you to ask the finance ministry to get this investigated urgently to ascertain the illegalities committed by Mr Janardan Reddy. In particular, I requested the central government to deploy Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the other investigating agencies to investigate this from the point of view of laundering of money."
"To the best of my knowledge, no tangible steps were taken to investigate the case of Mr Janardan Reddy, perhaps for the reason that he wielded influence over the government. Inaction on the part of the Centre in that case sent a negative message on your campaign against corruption and black money," he added.
According to reports, Bengaluru police are probing involvement of Mr Janardhan Reddy in a Ponzi, or a chain money scheme, where his personal assistant had allegedly received 57kgs of gold.
During 2016-17, one company under the name of Ambidant was set up and was promised assured returns of 30-40% per month. When it failed to return the money there were cases filed against the company. In January 2017, the ED raided on the company.
In his statement before the central crime branch of Bengaluru police, Fareed, the owner of Ambidant company claimed that after the raids by ED, they approached Mr Ali Khan, a close aide of Mr Janardhan Reddy to help them close the case. Quoting sources, a report from MyNation
says, “Janardhan Reddy reportedly promised to help, but demanded Rs 21 crore. Fareed has also told CCB that Janardhan Reddy and ED officials met at Taj Westend in Bengaluru and closed the deal. Mr Janardhan Reddy's Enable India Company allegedly received Gold Bars from Ambidant.”
T Suneel Kumar, commissioner of police at Bengaluru, told reporters, "A transaction of Rs18 crore was done. It was later found that the Ambidant Company had transferred the money to Ramesh Kothari of Ambika Jewellers. When Mr Kothari was questioned, he revealed that he had given 57 kg of gold to Ramesh, a jeweller from Bellary. When Ramesh was questioned, he informed that the gold was given to Mr Janardhan Reddy's PA Mr Khan. Mr Reddy is untraceable now and there is no arrest warrant against him. Mr Reddy will be summoned for questioning as we need to recover 57 kgs of gold."
Clearly, Mr Sarma says, inaction on the part of the central investigating agencies against Mr Janardana Reddy in 2016 sent a clear message to scamsters that they could lean on him for assistance, whenever needed.
Talking about Mr Janardhan Reddy, he says, "I am sure that the mining baron of Bellary, who was already involved in several cases of illegal mining, had also helped your party and the others in the Karnataka elections recently," adding, "Today, I find the same gentleman reported to be involved in yet another money laundering scam and the Karnataka police are trying to locate him. He seems to have been closely associated with a financial services firm, which defrauded over 15,000 people to the tune of over Rs600 crore through Ponzi schemes. The owner of that firm seemed to have sought Mr Janardana Reddy's intervention in "settling" the cases taken up by the ED!"
Mr Sarma, the former Union secretary also recalled that he had drawn the attention of the prime minister on what action can be taken during the demonetisation days. In his letter on 16 November 2016, Mr Sarma had stated, "You cannot run with the hare and hunt with the hounds at the same time. If you wish to flush out black money in real earnest, Mr Prime Minister, you have to flush it out from the bigger sharks nearer home, not the petty cash hoarders. If you wish to tell the nation that you mean business, the people of this country wish to see some big fish apprehended, their benami properties confiscated and an example is set to deter the others from violating the law of the land."
You may also want to read…