The mining republic of Bellary in Karnataka is famous for notoriety and has become the epicentre of corruption. However, the ill gotten money that was spent to buy out a judge was something that fell flat on its face.
The Central Bureau Investigation's probe against a corrupt judge, who was allegedly bribed to grant bail, is gaining steam and it is only an indication as to the extent that the powerful mining lobby can go up to buy everything for a price.
The case in which a judge in Andhra Pradesh was allegedly bribed in the illegal mining case against mining baron and politician Gali Janardhana Reddy is only a tip of the iceberg.
Pattabhi Rama, the first additional judge in the special CBI court, was arrested by the agency on charges of corruption in which it was alleged that he had taken a bribe in order to grant bail to Janardhan Reddy, the mining baron from Karnataka.
The interrogation of the judge has revealed some very interesting details regarding the manner in which the deal was struck. During the interrogation, Pattabhi Rama told the CBI officials that he was first offered a bribe of Rs 10 crore. However he refused the same stating that it was a very high profile case and the risk involved in it was too much, sources said.
The bribe was offered to him by an official. Despite refusing the bribe, the officer continued to force him into accepting the same. He even resorted to blackmail and even threatened that he would expose some earlier incidents in case the bribe was not taken and the bail not granted to Janardhan Reddy, sources added.
Later on a friend of the judge who also happens to be a retired judge approached him. This time however the offer that was made was for Rs 5 crore. The retired judge convinced him to accept the money and assured him that everything will be taken care of. He said that the money would be parked in a locker and the keys handed over directly and there would be no trail whatsoever in this case, sources said.
The more interesting part of the CBI investigation is regarding the man who actually stood as the deal maker between the judge and Janardhan Reddy. This is a man called Yadgiri Rao who originally hails from the Prakasam district of Andhra Pradesh. His father came to Hyderabad around 30 years back.
Rao from a very young age joined a group of friends and offered services such as settlement of deals. He slowly grew bigger in this business. He also familiarised himself with some people in the judiciary. Rao, apart from settling disputes pertaining to land deals, was also a paid witness in many cases.
His job was to step in as a witness for a sum and give out evidence. He did this for many years as a result of which he built up the contacts in the judiciary.
Hence, when Reddy wanted bail, Rao was the man that they approached. According to the CBI investigation, the deal was first struck at Rs 10 crore. There was another judge they had tried to approach, but the offer was refused. They then realised that the judge in question would go on leave and hence made the move on Pattabhi Ram.
The allegation is that the amount of Rs 10 crore was handed over to Rao by Somashekara Reddy, brother of Janardhana Reddy.
Rao first approached the judge directly, but when he refused to yield to blackmail he approached the retired judge. At first even the retired judge found it difficult to convince Pattabhi Ram, but then pressure was yielded through some family members and the judge was allegedly convinced following which bail was granted, sources said.
However, the CBI has also found that Rao, who had taken a sum of Rs 10 crore to strike this deal, did not keep up his promise of handing over the entire sum. He offered only half the amount and with the rest of the money picked up two sites in Hyderabad and also a car -- which has now been seized by the CBI sleuths.