CBI opposes Reddys' plea to get chopper, cars released

 The CBI, probing the ''illegal'' mining case involving Obulapuram Mining Company (OMC), today strongly opposed the release of a chopper and some cars owned by former Karnataka Tourism minister Gali Janardhana Reddy and OMC's Managing Director B V Srinivas Reddy.

The Reddys, who have been chargesheeted along with three others in the OMC case last year and are presently under judicial remand since their arrest on September 5 from Bellary, had last week approached the Special court for CBI cases here seeking release of the helicopter and some cars that were seized by the investigating agency.

In its counter, the CBI today alleged that the helicopter and the cars that were bought in the name of OMC and Reddys were purchased through "ill-gotten" money that was made in the mining scam.

"The purchases were made through the amount amassed through illegal mining. They were part of the proceeds of crime and cannot be released till the disposal of the case," the CBI said in its counter, adding that it would soon file attachment petitions with regard to the chopper and the cars.

The central agency further said that it was verifying the purchase source and brushed aside the contention of the Reddys who claimed that the continuous disuse would spoil the helicopter and the cars, saying the helicopter was kept in a shed in Bangalore and was well maintained, while the cars were also in good condition in Bellary, though they were not used.

"The question of spoiling doesn't arise as the helicopter and the cars are being well maintained," the CBI said and apprehended that the accused may sell the chopper and cars to a third party if they were returned which would make it difficult for the agency to procure them before the trial.

The court posted the matter to February 22 for arguments.

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