The stage was Saturday set for the arrest of suspended Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) judge in a cash-for-bail scam which has sent shock waves among the judiciary across the state.
After receiving a nod from Andhra Pradesh High Court to register a case, the CBI may arrest any time First Additional CBI Judge T. Pattabhirama Rao on charges of taking bribe to grant bail to former Karnataka minister Gali Janardhana Reddy in an illegal mining case, sources here said.
CBI sources said the investigative agency would register a first information report before carrying out the arrests.
An Andhra Pradesh cabinet minister, two Karnataka legislators, a retired judge, a rowdy sheeter and the suspended judge’s son are also believed to have played a role in striking the deal.
The exact deal amount remained a mystery but it is believed to be anywhere between Rs.5 crore and Rs.15 crore.
The judge allegedly demanded Rs.15 crore but the deal was finally struck for Rs.10 crore. He allegedly received Rs.3 crore as advance before granting bail to Reddy May 11 in the Obulapuram Mining Company (OMC) case.
The CBI Friday recovered part of the amount from bank lockers belonging to the judge’s son.
The CBI, which grew suspicious of the judge’s action, started investigations after a go-ahead from high court Chief Justice Madan B. Lokur.
The investigators tapped the judge’s phone and questioned him, his son and others. The chief justice was informed of the preliminary investigations and, based on this, he suspended the judge late Thursday.
Janardhana Reddy’s family allegedly approached the judge through Yadagiri, a rowdy sheeter of Nacharam area in Hyderabad, who then got in touch with a retired judge. A state minister is also suspected to have helped in the deal.
Janardhana Reddy’s brother and Karnataka legislator G. Somasekhara Reddy allegedly met the middlemen in a hotel in Hyderabad to finally strike the deal. The accused’s brother allegedly handed over the money, brought from Bellary town in Karnataka.
Despite Pattabhirama granting the bail, the mining baron remained in Bangalore jail, where he is lodged in another illegal mining case.
On a petition by the CBI, the high court later stayed the bail.
The mining baron was arrested by the CBI from Bellary Sep 5 last year in a case of illegal mining in Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh.