AP to prosecute Reddy firm for 'lie'

Brahmani Steels that got 10,000 acres of land is now Uttam Galva Ferrous

AP to prosecute Reddy firm for 'lie'

G Janardhan Reddy

The Andhra Pradesh government has filed a criminal case against an employee of a steel firm owned by Karnataka Tourism Minister G Janardhan Reddy in connection with the mortgaging of huge tracts of land allotted for a steel plant.

An FIR was filed last week after the firm concealed from the government that it had mortgaged land allotted by the government --  nearly 10,670 acres -- for availing a loan of Rs 350 crore.

After allegations were raised in the Andhra Assembly against the Reddy brothers, Kadapa Deputy Commissioner Shashibhushan Kumar wrote to Brahmani steels enquiring whether the company had mortgaged any land for a loan.

Kumar told Deccan Herald: "Brahmani Steels Project Manager Ranga Reddy replied that the firm had not availed of any loan. However, when inquiries were made at the sub-registrar's office, it was found that the land had been mortgaged. Further, Axis Bank (Proddatur branch) has also confirmed that a loan of Rs 350 crore has been availed".

The Kadapa district authorities have filed an FIR under Section 177 of the Indian Penal Code against Ranga Reddy for intentionally furnishing false information to a public servant.

Brahmani Steels was in the news after then Y S Rajashekar Reddy-led Andhra government allotted to Brahmani Steels 10,070 acres of land in 2007 for setting up a steel plant with an annual production capacity of two million metric tonnes (MT) in Kadapa district.

The land was allotted at the rate of Rs 18,500 an acre on the condition that captive mines should be utilised for Brahmani Steels.

However, in the recent session of the Andhra Assembly, allegations were made that the ore was exported for a profit instead of utilising them for the steel plant.

The filing of the FIR comes in the wake of reports that Brahmani Industries has been sold to Miglani family that jointly owns Uttam Galva Steel along with Arcelor Mittal.

On April 7, the Registrar of Companies, Karnataka, has recorded that Brahmani Industries Karnataka Limited has changed its name to Uttam Galva Ferrous Limited.

Decisions

An extraordinary general body meeting of Brahmani Industries was also held on March 24, where two decisions were taken: to approve the name change, and to approve the shift in the registered office from Bellary to Bangalore. The meeting agenda, notes that "The management of the company is being taken over and the new management has contemplated changing the name of the company, in order to bring the company under its brand name."

The FIR is the latest in a series of cases where the Reddy brothers have been coming under scrutiny from a host of agencies investigating illegal mining, including the CBI, the Central Empowered Committee of the Supreme Court, the Income Tax department, and the Lokayukta.

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