Three more Reddy aides raided

Three more Reddy aides raided

On Monday, a CBI team raided the houses of Kharadapudi Mahesh and Swastik Nagaraj in Hospet and the residence of STD Manjunath in Sandur and recovered key documents.
The trio face charges of working for Reddy in illegal mining of iron ore and transporting it illegally.

They were not in their houses when the team led by Seetharam raided the houses separately between 6 am and 10 am. The raids continued till evening. When the palatial house of Nagaraj at Rajiv Nagar in Hospet was raided, only his sister-in-law was at home and provided the documents. At the J P Nagar residence of Mahesh, his mother, wife and relatives were present and answered the queries of the officials.

At the bungalow of Manjunath in Teachers Colony of Sandur, his parents and wife were to be found. They were all issued notices by the CBI officials and they have been asked to be present in Bellary on Tuesday for questioning, say sources.

The names of Mahesh, Nagaraj and Manjunath figure in the Lokayukta report on illegal mining. It is said that the trio managed the raising contract and transport risk aspects of the scam.

The CBI has already conducted raids on the residences and rice mills of S Gurulinganagowda, chairman of the Bellary Urban Development Authority, Bhaskar Reddy and Anand Choudhary of Kurugod, all close confidantes of Janardhana Reddy and Srinivas Reddy.

A team of the CBI, which is camping in Bellary following the arrest of Janardhana Reddy and Srinivas Reddy, is keeping a close watch on the movements of the Reddy aides and collecting relevant information. There are possibilities of raids on the residences of more people in the days to come.

The rags to riches stories, albeit infamous ones, of the trio

Kharadapudi Mahesh
His name comes from the fact that he hails from a family that sold ‘kharadapudi’ (Kannada for chilli powder) for a living.

Initially, Mahesh plied an autorickshaw to make ends meet, but later switched to being a coolie in the iron ore mines.

Once he learnt the nuances of the trade, he became a part of the close circle of Reddy in Hospet.

His family, which resided in a small house along with a chilli-pounding machine at Bellary Circle in Hospet, are today residents of a palatial house worth crores of rupees. Mahesh is said to have crores of rupees in his bank balance.

According to the Lokayukta report, Mahesh also looked after the Reddys’ guests and the moneylending business of the Reddys and others. Details of all these are said to be stored in a computer.

Swastik Nagaraj
Nagaraj’s family owns a cement and iron outlet. He is a Hospet CMC member and has held the post of vice-president. Nagaraj has also established a ‘sponge iron unit’ on the outskirts of Hospet. He is said to have introduced ‘Swastik’ cards, which were given to drivers of ore-laden lorries, who in turn showed them to officers at checkposts for unhindered passage. The cards would be later ‘encashed’.

STD Manjunath
Hailing from Andhra Pradesh, Manjunath had an STD booth in Sandur. Earlier, he worked as an assistant of the Lad brothers - Anil and Santosh. Later, he switched sides to become one of the right-hand men of the Reddys.

He was till recently, the Sandur taluk unit president of the BJP. He used to transport ore in lorries from the mines in Sandur region. Manjunath also looked after the risk business, with a battery of more than 50 unemployed youths who were equipped with bikes and mobile phones.

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