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Illegal mining: Court gives bail to ex-official, stays order

A special court in Andhra Pradesh Thursday granted bail to former bureaucrat V.D. Rajagopal in the illegal mining case involving Obulapuram Mining Company (OMC) of former Karnataka minister Gali Janardhana Reddy but later stayed its own order till Dec 19.

A few hours after granting conditional bail to Rajagopal, former vice chairman and managing director of the state-owned Andhra Pradesh Mineral Development Corporation (APMDC), the special court dealing with Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) cases stayed the order.

The court’s interim orders came on a petition by CBI, which sought a stay on the bail for five days. The investigating agency told the court that it gathered more evidence against the accused.

CBI counsel argued that the bail to Rajagopal at a crucial stage could hamper the progress in the case and that he could tamper with the evidence. 

Rajagopal, the third accused in the case arrested by the CBI Nov 12, was earlier asked to deposit a personal bond of Rs.50,000 and arrange two sureties.

He was also directed to surrender his passport to the CBI and make himself available for investigations whenever the investigating agency summons him.

Rajagopal allegedly played a key role in granting mining leases to OMC for iron ore mining in Anantapur district in 2005.

Co-accused Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer Y. Srilakshmi was released on bail Dec 2, four days after the CBI arrested her on charges of approving mining leases in violation of rules.

The court also extended the judicial custody of Janardhana Reddy and OMC managing director B.V. Srinivasa Reddy till Dec 29. The two were arrested by the CBI Sep 5 in Bellary in Karnataka. They are currently lodged in the Chanchalguda Central Jail here.

The court has already rejected their three bail petitions. They moved the fourth bail petition Wednesday.



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