In the days to come the legal team of arrested Bellary mining lord and minister G Janardhan Reddy will play a very crucial role. While the Central Bureau of Investigation builds its case against him and his activities through his Obulapuram Mining Company, his legal team are burning the midnight oil to ensure that their client is out in the open as soon as possible.
In this exclusive interview to rediff.com's Vicky Nanjappa, senior advocate Nagesh explains the case of Janardhan Reddy and also what their strategy would be in the days to come.
What have been the reactions in the wake of this sudden arrest of your client?
Obviously, we are shocked. We fail to understand the timing of this arrest. I would not comment like a politician on this issue and start calling it a 'witch-hunt'. However, what needs to be done legally, we will do. The battle will be fought in the courts.
What will be the immediate move on your part?
The first thing we would do is seek bail for Janardhan Reddy. That matter will be moved before the CBI court in Hyderabad on Tuesday. That will be our utmost priority.
Next we would oppose the move by the CBI seeking police custody of our client. That matter will come up for hearing on Wednesday. We have opposed the CBI plea for custody and would continue to do so.
Do you think that your client has been a victim of political conspiracy?
I would not wish to comment on it like a politician. However, I would add that my client is innocent, and in the due course of time, matters would become clear.
How do you say with so much confidence that he is innocent?
No one is guilty or innocent unless certified by the court. However, with whatever records we have on hand, we could say that the offences charged against my client are baseless and we will prove that before the court of law.
The CBI is only doing its job. Why does everyone have so many problems with the CBI?
I agree that they are doing their job. However, there is a procedure and that has not been followed. These are cases of 2009. I would like to ask what they were doing until now.
The matter was argued before the division bench of the Andhra Pradesh high court and the CBI was clearly told that they shall stick to the issue of illegal mining. Yes, there is a problem with every CBI probe, since we all know it is a tool at the hands of the government at the Centre and it can be used in whichever way they like.
But isn't the CBI probing only issues pertaining to illegal mining?
No, they are not. They have seized wealth, gold and other articles. Seizing documents may be under their purview, but the other articles are not their jurisdiction.
If it is felt that this wealth has been obtained illegally then it is the duty of the Income Tax department to take action on the same. Let that department ascertain that this is ill gotten wealth. What role does the CBI have in this?
The worst has possibly happened to your client. Are you still confident that he will come out?
Yes he will. All reports are favourable to my client. The Central Empowerment Committee instituted by the Supreme Court speaks in favour of my client. It says that there has been no trespass by my client.
Further, it also adds that my client has occupied less land than what has been granted to him. When this is the case, I fail to understand what the CBI is up to.
What are the main charges by the CBI?
The case before them is that the mining lease granted by the Andhra Pradesh government in favour of Obulapuram Mining Company has been misused and illegal mining has been carried out in Karnataka with the help of that lease.
They say there is breach of trust, criminal trespass, cheating, theft and offences committed in violation of the Mines and Minerals Act. They may say a lot of things. But let us see if it stands the test of law.
A hue and cry has been made over his arrest. Is this not normal procedure?
Where was the need to arrest him? Had he run off? Was he not cooperating? After two years they have done this. You say it is normal procedure. But will you ask the CBI if they have followed normal procedure? The court ought to have issued a warrant and it was the job of the court to seek his custody. The CBI ought not to have done that.
A lot has been made out by you regarding the seizure of the articles. Isn't that again normal procedure?
Here I would like to draw your attention to the chopper which was seized. Where was the need to do that? Can anyone conceal a chopper? How has the CBI come to the conclusion that the chopper was purchased through illegal mining funds?
We have records to show that this chopper was purchased through a loan. My client is still paying the loan. How can it be said that it was due to illegal mining?
It looks good when one says that they have seized a chopper. This was unnecessary. First and foremost the chopper could not have been hidden. Even to fly it there are clearances required which again are provided by agencies of the central government. With regard to the seizure of the other articles, I have already spoken about them.