CBI judge suspended for 'taking bribe'
Andhra Pradesh High Court Chief Justice Madan B Lokur has suspended CBI First Additional Special Judge T Pattabhi Ramarao on corruption charges.
In-charge Registrar P Mastanamma on Thursday night issued an official order keeping the judge under suspension pending enquiry.
The HC, which also launched disciplinary proceedings against Ramarao under Rule 8(1) of the AP Civil Services (CC&A) Rules, 1991, ordered him not to leave Hyderabad without prior permission. For the time being, CBI Special Court Principal Judge A Pulliah will discharge additional duty at the first additional special court.
Though the order did not specify the reason behind Ramarao’s suspension, he allegedly received Rs 5 crore for granting bail to former Karnataka minister Gali Janardhan Reddy, the key accused in the OMC illegal mining case. Ramarao allegedly granted bail to Reddy on May 12, the day after a huge sum was deposited in a bank account opened in a benami name. Sources said Lokur suspended Ramarao following a complaint from the CBI after the investigative agency reportedly found that the bribe money was stashed in lockers of the judge’s kin.
Pattabhi Ramarao was one of the three additional judges recently appointed at the CBI court to handle the mounting number of cases in the state. While A Pulliah was made the principle judge, Ramarao was the first additional judge. P Nagamaruti Sharma was appointed the second additional judge while Ramana Naidu was the third additional judge.
During his tenure, Ramarao had dealt with a few cases only. While he rejected bail to IAS officer Y Srilakshmi, an accused in the illegal mining scam, he granted bail to Gali Janardhana Reddy, key accused in the case.
The CBI grew suspicious of Ramarao after Reddy’s aides were found ready with the exact security amount of Rs 5 lakh and two sureties on May 11, even before the verdict was pronounced.
Sources said Reddy’s men, in order to secure the bail, approached the son of the tainted justice and clinched the deal.
While Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy and TDP chief Nara Chandrababu Naidu expressed shock over Reddy’s effort to buy out a judge, APCC chief Botsa Satyanarayan said even Jaganmohan Reddy may choose a similar way to get out of the jail.
Meanwhile, the CBI is keeping vigil on certain influential people close to former minister G Janardhana Reddy in Bangalore and Bellary in connection with allegations of bribe offered to a CBI special court judge who granted Janardhan Reddy bail in the Obalapuram Mining Case on May 11. CBI sources claim that the money recovered from the now suspended judge’s son was taken from Bellary by some close associates of Reddy.
The CBI sources say that they have the full logistical details of how the money was transported from Bellary to Hyderabad and how it was given to the judge through intermediaries.
They also add that a very close associate of Reddy who has been working with him in his mining and political activities had carried the money himself to Hyderabad.
People from Bangalore were also involved in transporting the money.
The CBI Hyderabad is yet to register a case in the regard. It is expected that the CBI will take some people in Bangalore and Bellary into custody once it registers a case. The sources also say the CBI is thinking of taking Reddy into custody.