Cops Launch Manhunt for ‘Absconding’ Janardhana Reddy for ‘Helping’ Ponzi Scam Mastermind

According to the chargesheet filed before the Lokayukta court, Reddy and his aides extracted and traded 1,69,263 metric tonnes of ore, causing loss to the state exchequer.

Bengaluru: Central Crime Branch (CCB) sleuths have launched a massive manhunt to nab Karnataka’s former tourism minister and mining baron Gali Janardhana Reddy. Reddy, once arrested in connection with a mining scam, has been accused of helping the prime suspect in a ponzi scam.

CCB officials said Syed Ahmed Fareed, the prime accused in the over Rs 600 crore ponzi scam, had revealed during investigation that he had given Reddy 58 kg gold worth Rs 18 crore after he promised to help ‘settle’ a case against him that was being investigated by the Enforcement Directorate.

Fareed’s company – Ambidant Marketing Pvt Ltd – has allegedly cheated as many as 15,000 investors with his scheme. He had promised returns of forty percent per month on the investments.

In 2016, Income Tax officials raided the office of Ambidant Marketing Pvt Ltd, and registered a case. Later, Enforcement Directorate was brought in to investigate the case. The ED attached assets of father-son duo Syed Ahmed Fareed and Syed Ahmed Afaq.

When Enforcement Directorate started probing the case, Fareed allegedly contacted Reddy’s close associate and personal assistant Ali Khan to help him get rid of probe, the police said.

City police commissioner T Suneel Kumar told reporters that they have formed four special teams to nab Reddy, who is at large.

Speaking about the case, he told reporters, “During our interrogation, the accused Fareed told us that he along with his son Afaq had a meeting with Janardhana Reddy this year March in Taj West End hotel. The meeting was about settling the case being probed by the ED. As per Fareed’s statement Janardhana Reddy demanded Rs 20 crore which had to be paid in the form of gold bullions.”

Kumar added that Ali Khan introduced Syed Fareed to Ramesh, who is a Bellary-based jeweler. Ramesh in turn introduced Fareed to another Bengaluru based Jeweler Ramesh Kothari.

Fareed then bought 57 kg gold worth Rs 18 crore from Kothari and allegedly gave it to Janardhana Reddy, the commissioner said.

He also said that police have recovered some crucial documents after arresting Ramesh Kothari and Ramesh, who are now out on bail.

Reddy’s whereabouts have been unknown since he addressed a press conference in Molakalmuru of Chitradurga district, two days before the bypolls in the state. His associate, Ali Khan, has meanwhile been granted bail from a Bengaluru court