'GJR probe will cross border'

'GJR probe will cross border'

Brahmani Steel is key to establishing link between Jagan and Janardhana: CBI

A day after the arrest of GJR and Obulapuram Mining Company (OMC) Managing Director Srinivas Reddy, the CBI said one of the angles of the investigation will be into the illegal exporting of iron ore worth an estimated Rs 5,000 crore.

CBI Joint Director Lakshminarayan told Deccan Herald from Hyderabad: “We are not stopping the investigation at finding irregularities in Andhra Pradesh. We are probing into illegal mining in Karnataka, and illegal exports from there.”

Inquiring into OMC’s activities in Karnataka, sources in the CBI said, was key to establishing links between former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Rajashekara Reddy (YSR) and his son Jaganmohan Reddy.

And a key link between Jagan and GJR, sources said, will be Brahmani Steel, a no-longer-in-existence steel company in which the latter had stakes, and which had even bagged a project in last year’s Global Investors’ Meet here. During its (Brahmani Steel) conception, CBI sources said, Jagan and some members of his family were to be partners with GJR.

Sources said the CBI had gathered evidence of Jagan receiving kickbacks from Janardhana Reddy, his company and associates, apart from there being enough evidence to prove his association with the Reddy brothers from Bellary in Karnataka.

Besides, activities of Janardhana’s companies in the State (Karnataka) will provide insight into how the licences obtained from the Andhra Pradesh Government under YSR were used and the probable misuse of the same, the sources said.

“Following the trail of investments made into Jagan-owned companies, we will, based on the evidence already available, reach money raised from OMC and other firms. Therefore, it becomes important for us to look into the activities in Karnataka,” an official said.

This will also lead the investigating team to the usage of ore as GJR also had stake in a steel company, he said.

Although the investigating agency has gathered substantial evidence about the involvement of officials during the previous government, the ‘fruits of their labour’ cannot be completely measured without investigating in Karnataka.

“We have frozen all bank accounts of OMC and Janardhana Reddy,” Lakshminarayana said, and sources added that the agency is keeping a close tab on his brothers. Sources kept mum on whether the team in Karnataka, which had grilled Janardhana’s wife for long hours on Monday is continuing the probe here. They said the first phase of their investigation will be pertaining to illegal mining and they will go into the other matters after that.

Reddy is also implicated in the Lokayukta report on illegal mining here but as former Lokayukta Santosh Hegde puts it, the government inaction has let him and many others remain untouched till date.

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