Suspended judge, 2 State MLAs face arrest in bail 'sale'

Suspended judge, 2 State MLAs face arrest in bail 'sale'

Anti-Corruption Bureau files FIRs

Suspended CBI special court judge Pattabhirama Rao and two Karnataka legislators Gali Somasekhara Reddy and T H Suresh Babu are facing arrest in the sensational cash-for-bail scam as the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) in Andhra Pradesh filed FIRs against them on Saturday. 

FIRs were also filed against five accomplices of the suspended judge, including his son. The ACB found prima facie evidence against the suspended judge and the two legislators in the case. Around Rs 10 crore crossed borders from Karnataka to Andhra Pradesh to bribe the judge, who granted conditional bail to Janardhana Reddy, currently jailed in Bangalore. 

The case was handed over to ACB by the Andhra Pradesh High Court on Friday.

Janardhana Reddy’s brother Somasekhara Reddy (Bellary City MLA) and Suresh Babu (Kampli MLA) face arrest as bribe givers - for striking the deal and making a payment of Rs 10 crore to the judge.

Recently, on June 2,  the cash-for-bail scam broke out when the then Chief Justice of Andhra Pradesh High Court Madan B Lokur suspended Pattabhirama Rao on charges of accepting bribe last year in exchange for granting bail to former Karnataka minister Gali Janardhana Reddy and three others involved in illegal mining.

The five accomplices of the suspended judge booked on Saturday are: the judge’s son, Ravichandra, retired sessions court judges T Chalapathi Rao, his son Balaji, rowdy sheeter Yadagiri Rao of Nacharam in Hyderabad and a junior lawyer Dasaradharami Reddy. 

All 8 people have been charged under provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act 13(1) and (2) besides 120(b), 420 and 417 of the Indian Penal Code. The arrests of the prime accused and their accomplices are likely to be made soon, said the police.

The CBI, which has completed investigating certain aspects of the case before handing it over to the ACB, believes that the Karnataka legislators had approached the tainted judge through the rowdy sheeter, who in turn involved the judge’s son and transferred the cash that came from Bellary.

The retired session’s judge and junior lawyer also played their role in approaching the CBI judge. 

The CBI smelt a rat when Janardhana Reddy’s aides came prepared with exact bail amount and sureties even before the judge granted bail to Janardhana Reddy.
Indicating that the arrest of Karnataka legislators is imminent, ACB sources said that an investigation team will probe the case that would require the arrests the two MLAs.

Necessary clearances for the arrests would be sought from the Karnataka Assembly secretariat. “It’s similar to the Telgi case where MLA Krishna Yadav was arrested by the SIT team from Maharashtra,” the ACB sources said.

The CBI had conducted a secret probe, the outcome of which was reported to the AP high court collegium. According to the report, the judge was initially paid Rs 2.87 crore by Janardhana Reddy’s aides, who had tried to bargain for a Rs 5 crore deal for granting bail to four persons. But they eventually settled for a payment of Rs 10 crore. 

According to the deal, the judge had agreed to grant bail to Janardhana Reddy, his brother-in-law B. V. Srinivas Reddy, suspended IAS officer Y. Srilakshmi and former Director of Mines V D Rajagopal, one by one.

During the secret probe after the grant of bail to Janardhana Reddy on May 12, 2011, the CBI recovered a portion of the bribe amount from lockers of a nationalised bank in Hyderabad that belonged to members of the judge’s family. The investigators also got hold of video shots of a secret meeting held by Janardhana Reddy’s aides at a star hotel in Hyderabad with the judge’s middlemen.
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