Case of The Mining Baron

Tracking Gali’s ill-gotten gains

Gali Janardhan Reddy, a former minister, was arrested in September 2011, for being the crucial piece of a mining iron ore scam in the Bellary, Karnataka, where he and his aides held unparalleled power.

Sudhakar followed the story from the beginning reporting on the details of the charges against the mining baron and the bigshots – as high as ministers and IAS officers – who aided his firm Obulapuram Mining Company (OMC) to get mining leases before others. Janardhan Reddy would sell ore illegally transported from other areas in the name of OMC for staggering profits.

A profile that Sudhakar drew of VD Rajagopal, then MD of AP Mineral Development Corporation, and IAS officer Y Srilakshmi gave insight into the under-the-table dealing that took place during the scam. Sudhakar’s report even mentioned Rajagopal being proud of his role in facilitating the scam. The case had many twists and turns with even a judge in the case accusing the ACB of obtaining statements from witnesses under duress.

The case didn’t stop here. Names of many more heavyweights came out in further investigation by the CBI. Sudhakar extensively reported on the cash-for-bail case where retired judge, TV Chalapathi Rao, and CBI special judge T Pattabhi Rama Rao among many others were involved in trying to get bail for Gali Janardhan Reddy for a bribe of Rs 15 crore.

Sudhakar wrote about the trial of money followed by the CBI that connected Hyderabad to Karnataka and showed the involvement of many politicians, middlemen, and members of the judiciary. Sudhakar tied the case together by presenting evidence that tied all those involved with Gali’s case through the money found in the bank lockers of the accused, CCTV tapes, call details, and other circumstantial evidence. Gali’s black money transfers could be transferred to benami foreign firms in six countries.

An interesting tidbit Sudhakar reported is about Gali’s ‘golden throne’. A perfect example of ‘all that glitters is not gold’, Gali’s throne was not made of gold, as it was made out to be, but just gold coated and he was reportedly sitting on it when the CBI raided his house. But, Gali did live king style going by the seizure of 67 kg of gold ornaments, a helicopter, Rolls Royce and other vehicles of the former minister.

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