CBI grills AP home minister in illegal mining case

CBI grills AP home minister in illegal mining case

Sabitha Reddy is one of the six ministers who got notices from SC

After nailing Jaganmohan Reddy in the disproportionate assets case, the CBI on Friday grilled Andhra Pradesh Home Minister Sabitha Indra Reddy, who held the mines and geology portfolio in former chief minister Y S Rajashekhara Reddy’s cabinet, for her alleged role in approval of government orders (GO) on iron and lime stone mining to facilitate the late CM.

Indra Reddy is one of the six ministers and 11 IAS officers who received Supreme Court notices in connection with the issuance of the 26 contentious GOs. IAS officers Srilakshmi and B P Acharya and state mining director V D Rajagopal, instrumental in facilitating the OMC mining scam are already behind the bars while L V Subramanyam and K Venkateswar Rao are under the scanner for their alleged involvement in the EMAAR scam.

Among the ministers under scanner are J Geetha Reddy, Sabitha Reddy, Ponnala Lakshmaiah, Dharmana Prasad Rao, Kanna Laklshminarayana and Mopidevi Venaktaramana while Manmohan Singh, Y Srilakshmi, S V Prasad, Ratna Prabha, C V S K Sharma, Samuel, Sambob, Adityanath Das are among the IAS officers served notices.
Though the apex court notices were issued in the month of March, the CBI got a go ahead from the Kiran Kumar Reddy-government recently.

Apart from Sabitha Indra Reddy, the CBI will quiz Minsiter of Major Industries J Geetha Reddy, erstwhile Irrigation Minister Ponnala Laxmaih and Excise Minister Mopidevi Venkata Ramana.

“Let them ask any number of questions I will answer,” Minister for Information technology Ponnala Laxmaiaah told reporters at an election campaign in Parkala of Warangal district. He will face the probe for his alleged role in the shady deals in the irrigation project “Jalayagnam.”

In a separate development, the Enforcement Directorate which is probing into allegations of money laundering by Brahmani Industries Ltd (BIL) owned by Gali Janardana Reddy, filed a petition in a the CBI special court on Friday seeking permission to interrogate the accused in the OMC case. The CBI has also filed two charge sheets in the case and is looking into the BIL scam as well. Sources said J Geetha Reddy will be questioned in connection with the irregularities in granting permission to BIL.

In August 2007, a GO permitting BIL to set up a steel plant in Jammalamadugu in Kadapa district was approved by Geetha Reddy. Besides, the state government allotted BIL two TMC ft water and permitted it to produce upto 5 MW of power.

The CBI and ED are now probing flow of foreign funds into BIL. CBI has found that of the Rs 1,200 crore pumped into BIL, Rs 48.9 crore came from GJR Holdings of Mauritius while OMC invested Rs 1,020 crore. The CBI is also probing into the allegation that BIL took a loan of Rs 350 crore from Axis Bank by mortgaging land allotted to it by the government.

Meanwhile, Jagati Publications and Janani Infra have filed a caveat petition against the attachment of Jaganmohan Reddy’s properties proposed by CBI, in the city civil court here on Saturday. The hearing has been posted to Monday.

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