Alleging that the then Chief Justice of India KG Balakrishna gave a favourable order to a mining company owned by G Janardhan Reddy a day before the CJI retired in 2010, Karnataka Congress claimed on Thursday that ₹100 crore was paid by Reddy for the order.
Releasing ‘sting videos’ in Bengaluru of conversations between the present BJP candidate from Molakalmuru and Badami and sitting Ballari MP B Sriramalu, a close associate of the Reddy brothers, and former CJI Balakrishna’s son-in-law Sriranjan and Janardhan Reddy, Capt Reddy and ‘Swamiji’ among others, Congress alleged that the videos were possibly shot because of non-settlement of the promised bribe.
The Congress party said that between January and May 2010, there were apparently a string of meetings between Janardhan Reddy, Sriramalu, Capt Reddy, Swamiji and Sriranjan, the then CJI’s son-in-law. These meetings, alleged Congress, involved bribes of about ₹500 crore for the CJI, of which ₹100 crore was paid in order to sway the court’s decision in favour of G Janardhan Reddy, who is now well known for his role in multiple mining scams.
At a press conference in Bengaluru on May 10, Karnataka Congress leaders recalled that in November, 2009 the Government of Andhra Pradesh issued an order prohibiting illegal mining by Obalapuram Mining Company owned by Janardhan Reddy. In February 2010, a Division Bench of the High Court of Andhra Pradesh, quashed the govt order and allowed mining operations by OMC.
Anticipating that the Govt of Andhra Pradesh would challenge the High Court order in Supreme Court through a Special Leave Petition, a communication was exchanged by OMC in order to dismiss the SLP stating that Supreme Court should not interfere in state matters, said Congress.
This was followed by a hearing in the Supreme Court on 11.03.2010, where the govt of Andhra Pradesh filed its SLP. The Supreme Court ordered a survey to determine the extent of the claims and in the meanwhile issued the maintenance of status-quo. The survey’s interim report, on 09.04.2010 recommended that mining be stopped entirely in light of grave irregularities, said Congress.
However, on 10.05.2010 the Supreme Court gave a favourable judgement and allowed OMC to continue its mining operations. CJI Balakrishna retired the next day, on 11.05.2010. Despite ‘grave irregularities’ that were highlighted, how did the Supreme Court grant OMC relief and dilute the case against Janardhan Reddy, asked Congress.
Congress demanded that the Prime Minister answer the people of Karnataka on why “the Bellary gang has been brought back to loot Karnataka”, and also demanded “an immediate high level enquiry into this bribery scandal”.
BJP President Amit Shah, at his own press conference in Bengaluru on May 10, commenting on the development said “Many fake sting videos surface, don't believe them blindly. Rather verify it”.