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Cash for bail: CBI raids residence of suspended AP judge

June 02, 2012 19:23 IST
The Central Bureau of Investigation on Saturday raided the Chikaluripet residence of retired judge Chalapathi Rao in Guntur district in connection with the cash-for-bail scandal involving CBI special court judge T Pattabhi Rama Rao and mining baron and former Bharatiya Janata Party Karnataka minister Gali Janardhan Reddy.

The CBI teams were also searching the houses of a document writer Srinivas Rao and a lawyer Tarakaram.

During the searches that began on Saturday morning, the CBI recovered some incriminating documents.

Chalapathi Rao allegedly played middleman in securing bail Janardhan Reddy in the illegal mining case. The Andhra Pradesh high court chief justice Madanlal B Lokur has now put the CBI judge under suspension.

During the investigation the CBI found that an amount of Rs 10 core changed the hands to ensure that Janardhan Reddy gets the bail. Patthabi Rama Rao had granted him the bail on May 11 but the former minister could not be released, as he was lodged in a jail in Bengaluru in connection with another illegal mining case.

According to the CBI, Reddy's brother Somashekhar Reddy had handed over an amount of Rs 10 crore to Chalapathi Rao for arranging the bail. The money was handed over in a hotel.

A history-sheeter Yadgiri also played a major role in arranging the deal. Patthabi Rama Rao was reached through his son. The CBI has already recovered part of the tainted money and is searching to trace the remaining money.

The CBI is also trying to find out how much was shared by the suspended judge and the middlemen. The CBI says that the judge had initially demanded Rs 15 crore for granting bail to Reddy but later settled for Rs 10 crore.

The name of state law minister Erasu Pratap Reddy, a relative of Reddy and another MLA from the region has also figured in the investigations. Pratap Reddy strongly denied any link with the matter and said that if the allegations were proved he will quit the public life. "I am going to take legal action against those levelling such allegations against me," he said.

Sources said that the CBI was able to bust the cash-for-bail case as it was keeping a close watch on the judge and had even tapped the phones of some people with the help of state intelligence machinery. The agency had also noted that Janardhan Reddy's brother Somashekhar had come to the court of Patthabi Rama Rao on May 11 with a huge amount of cash.

Janardhan Reddy, who is facing the charges of illegal mining of iron ore and exporting it to the tune of more than Rs 4000 crore, was granted bail for a personal bond of Rs 5 lakh and two sureities of Rs 5 lakh each. The CBI was also surprised that while Patthabi Rama Rao had granted the bail to the accused No 1, the bail petition of another accused in the case, the IAS officer Srilakshmi was rejected by the court.

 

Mohammed Siddique in Hyderabad