Court dismisses I-T dept`s plea over cash seized from Reddys

A special CBI court dismissed a petition of I-T deptt, seeking Rs 4.24 crore seized from the residences of Janardhan Reddy and B V Srinivas Reddy.

Hyderabad: A special CBI court on Friday dismissed a petition of Income Tax department, seeking an amount of Rs 4.24 crore seized from the residences of mining baron and former Karnataka Minister Gali Janardhan Reddy and Obulapuram Mining Company (OMC) managing director B V Srinivas Reddy, during their arrest by CBI in Bellary on September 5.

The Principal Special Court for CBI cases in its orders said that the amount shall be kept in (Fixed Deposit Receipts) FDRs in the name of the court for a period of 3 years in SBH branch Nampally , which is a convenient branch to transit a huge amount, as the bank is situated within the court premises.

Earlier, the I-T officials (Bangalore) requested the court that the money, including Rs 2.94 crore seized from Janardhan Reddy`s house and about Rs 1.3 crore from Srinivas Reddy`s house, be handed over to the department, as it was not reflected in the books.

However, the defence had strongly opposed the same and argued that the "I-T department didn`t state as to how it is entitled to the money, nor did it mention that Janardhan Reddy owed any I-T dues. The company (OMC) was to file I-T returns before October 31, but the money was seized on September 5," adding, "It belongs to the accused and is not liable for confiscation."

The CBI, which is investigating the illegal mining cases involving OMC, owned by Gali Janardhan Reddy, had informed the court last month that no doubt it was unaccounted money, but it was earned out of illegal mining and hence could not be given away until the probe was completed.

The Income Tax department counsel, however, insisted that the department gets the money since it was unaccounted and there were no books of accounts.

Gali Janardhan Reddy and his brother-in-law B V Srinivas Reddy, were arrested on September 5 from Bellary and brought to Hyderabad.

The CBI had filed a chargesheet against Janardhan Reddy and others on December 3 in OMC case and took him to Bangalore in connection with another illegal mining case in Karnataka.

Though Janardhan Reddy was granted conditional bail, in the OMC case, but it was kept under suspension till June 5, by the AP High Court.

OMC is accused of changing mining lease boundary markings between Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka and indulging in illegal mining in the Bellary Reserve Forest areas, spread between Bellary district of Karnataka and Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh.