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Mining scandal: PM protecting Reddy brothers, alleges Congress

Bengaluru (Karnataka) [India], May 10 : Congress leader Dinesh Gundu Rao, on Thursday, hit out at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), alleging that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was protecting the Reddy brothers and others involved in a mining scandal in 2009.

"Just a day before Chief Justice of India (CJI) Balakrishnan had retired, he passed an order in a case related to Reddy brothers mining company. Now several videos have been released which show how bribery deals were done between CJI's son-in-law, Sriramulu, and the Reddy brothers," said Rao.

Obalapuram Mining Company (OMC), owned by Janardhan Reddy, was involved in illegal mining controversy by removing boundary pillars between Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh (AP). In November 2009, the Government of AP had issued an order prohibiting illegal mining operations of OMC.

In February 2010, a Division Bench of the High Court (HC) of Andhra Pradesh, quashed the government order and allowed the mining operations conducted by the OMC. Anticipating that the government of AP would challenge the HC order in the SC through a Special Leave Petition (SLP), a communication was exchanged by the OMC in order to dismiss the SLP, stating that SC should not interfere in State matters.

This was followed by a hearing in the SC in the month of March, where the government of AP filed it's SLP. The apex 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 in April recommended that mining be stopped entirely in light of grave irregularities.

However, on May 10, the Supreme Court allowed the OMC to continue its mining operations. Chief Justice Balakrishna retired the next day, on May 11.

Claiming that the PM was protecting the involved individuals, including former Karnataka Chief Minister Yeddyurappa, BJP leader B. Sriramulu, The Reddy brothers, etc, he said, "In the last four years under Mr Modi, all the mining cases have been closed. Mr Modi is protecting the Reddy brothers, Yeddyurappa and others."

"Today in Karnataka, Janardhana Reddy's brother, Karunakara Reddy is a candidate, his other brother, Somashekara Reddy, is a candidate, Sriramulu is a candidate against our Chief Minister, other members of the gang have also been given tickets, they have been rejuvenated, so what does the Prime Minister have to say with these kinds of people in the BJP," he added.

Allegedly, between January and May 2010, there were a string of meetings between Janardhan Reddy, Sriramalu, and Sriranjan, the then CJI's son in law. These meetings allegedly involved bribes of about Rs. 500 crores for the CJI of which 100 crores were allegedly paid in order to sway the Court's decision in favour of Janardhan Reddy.

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