THE WAY REDDYS LIVE AFTER ALL THEIR BANK ACCOUNTS ARE FROZEN   Leave a comment


G Janardhana Reddy is in jail,his brothers have become recluses,the innumerable cronies have fled to save their skin.Even the chef has left Reddys family home,Kuteera.No more are exotic dishes cooked for his wife and son… Niranjan Kaggere chronicles the drastically changed reality

Gali Janardhana Reddys arrest has given the people of Bellary relief from the thundering sound of choppers flying past their houses.It’s been more than two months since we last saw a chopper hovering over Bellary.The sound of the rotors made a racket as the helipad of the Reddys was located in the residential area of Havambhavi.Several VIPs visiting the Reddys used the helipad,and hardly a day passed without a chopper landing there.But now it has become all so peaceful, a resident,whose house is adjacent to the helipad,said.

Now,the helipad is locked.The grass,having not been mowed for long,has spilled onto the helipad surface.The boundary wall is smeared with posters and handbills.When it was in regular use,five to six people used to maintain the place,regularly cutting the grass and keeping the area tidy.But today there is no one.Sometimes a few women personnel come in and switch open water jets which water the entire helipad area.But they do not clean up the area, another resident said.

The mining barons rarely travelled by road.We never saw any of the Reddys travelling by road.Only within city limits they travelled by cars,and that too imported ones.It was ironical that Janardhana was taken away by the CBI in an India-made SUV to Hyderabad in a six-hour road journey, a BJP worker said.

The helicopter,imported cars,high-end SUVs like Land Rover and BMW,and a hi-tech bus having all kinds of facilities all bought by Janardhana Reddy during the 2008 elections have been seized by the CBI.The make-shift shed outside Kuteera,which housed escort vehicles,is currently used to dump construction material like sand and bricks.

The Bellary airport,located close to the Cantonment area,has witnessed hardly any flying activity in recent times.As recently as six months ago,at least six chartered flights used to land and take off on a daily basis.There used to be no count of choppers using the airport.But today,it is all quiet at the airport except for a few corporate flights, an airport security personnel said.

The convoys of SUVs have become a rarity after the arrest of G Janardhana Reddy; The heavily-manned entrance to Kuteera,before the arrest of the mining baron

As a child he was fascinated by stories of mythological grandeur and men who rose like the Phoenix.His schoolbag always contained Chandamama,a magazine which retells myths and is famous for its illustrations.The huge palaces depicted in the magazine and its tales of the lavish lifestyles of kings made him dream of a day when he would be one himself.

When CBI officials raided the premises of 44-year-old G Janardhana Reddy on September 5 this year,they found that he was indeed living like a king.His house in Bellary resembled a fairy-tale fortress,with a hillock in the backdrop.The chair he sat on looked like the throne of an emperor.Everything about him smacked of royalty.

But Janardhana was not born with a silver spoon in his mouth.Son of an ordinary head constable Chenga Reddy,he grew up with a determination to make it big.In 1995,he founded a chit fund Ennoble India Savings in Bellary,but went bankrupt and closed it down in 1998.He dabbled in media and hotel businesses and burnt his fingers there too.

His fortunes changed when he plunged into politics during the 1999 Lok Sabha poll battle between Sonia Gandhi and Sushma Swaraj in Bellary.Sushma lost,but Janardhana and his brothers grew in influence from then on.Soon,the Reddy brothers ventured into mining,and thereafter into illegal mining.Janardhana even managed to erase the border between Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka and made loads of money from this fudging of the topography.

Correctly anticipating Chinas hunger for iron ore,Janardhana and his team started exploiting the states mineral resources ruthlessly.Because of them,Bellarys iron ore reserves,which were supposed to have lasted for 30 years,stand almost exhausted in less than a decade.Janardhana became so powerful financially that he almost brought down the BJP government in the state as B S Yeddyurappa,who was the chief minister then,was apparently acting pricey with him.He also became the financial go-to man for national BJP leaders.According to the Lokayukta report on illegal mining,Janardhana Reddys illegal export network pocketed around Rs 4,635.86 crore in 2009-10 alone.

But the pomp and show came crashing down after CBI and IT sleuths went after Janardhana.Lodged at the Chanchalaguda prison in Andhra Pradesh,he is now coming to terms with reality.Everything has changed for him,as well as those around him,after his arrest.There is no more flaunting of wealth or arrogance by any of his family members.With the CBI freezing all his assets,his family is either living on some undisclosed wealth it still retains,or is being supported by relatives,sources said.But Reddy himself can use no money whatsoever.The CBI has not only charged him with looting national wealth,but is also pressing for the recovery of the spent wealth.

Sons of a police constable,the Reddy brothers rode the wheel of fortune to become power-wielding business magnates of Karnataka.But then,the inevitable downswing followed.The CBI and the Supreme Court cracked down on their illegal mining operations and froze their resources and bank accounts.

Gloom has descended upon Kuteera,the family house of Janardhana.The once buzzing house looks haunted now.Only Reddys wife,Aruna Lakshmi,and their son stay there,along with his in-laws who moved in soon after the arrest to help Aruna run the house, a source close to the family The source went on to claim that Janardhanas arrest had not affected

The family financially despite the CBI freezing all bank accounts and resources.They were running a business worth more than Rs 500 crore,and must have kept apart at least a quarter of it undisclosed.That money is now being used for running the household, he said.

 

 

Work on the Reddy mansion (top) has stopped after the CBI raid which yielded treasures fit for Ali Babas cave (above)

DOWN FROM RS 50 LAKH TO RS 5 LAKH

There may not be any financial crisis,but the lifestyle of the family is no more what it used to be ever since the arrest of Janardhana.The family expenditure has been slashed from Rs 50 lakh a month to Rs 5 lakh.

The state government had deployed 40 policemen to guard the Reddy family homes at Bellary.The number had dwindled to five after Janardhana was sent to jail.Now,because of the polls,the district administration has withdrawn even those five cops, a BJP leader close to the Reddys said.The swanky cars are no more to be seen,but the convoys of black jeeps are still there.But unlike the past,when there used to be 10-15 jeeps in a convoy,a maximum of five are used now.Janardhanas son,Kiruti Reddy,a student of Peepul Tree School on Kapagal Road,used to go for classes in a five-jeep convoy.But now,at the most two jeeps,with some security men,escort him to school.Janardhanas daughter,Brahmini,has shifted to Bangalore.

CHEF MAKES AN EXIT

Kuteera,the family home of Janardhana Reddy,looks exactly like a kuteera of an ancient sage,but is fitted with ultra-modern gadgets.It was once a centre of hectic political activities,with fellow-BJP leaders and cronies flocking from all around,but now it looks like a deserted godown.

The house,built on a 100×50 sq ft plot in 2007,used to be the cynosure of all eyes.An invitation to Janardhanas home was a status booster.It housed precious wooden furniture.It is disappointing to see such a beautiful mansion rotting.There is hardly any maintenance of the house ever since its owner was arrested, a BJP worker said.

The family members hardly ever step out of the house,leaving it to servants to fetch grocery and other necessities.Either the guards or the servants come to us with the list of things needed, the owner of a nearby provision store said.The lists used to be very long even some months,but now they contain the names of just a few items.It is understandable as there are very few people in the house now,and there are no chefs anymore to cook exotic dishes for guests.

According to sources,Janardhana had appointed a chef from North India to cook exotic dishes for VIP guests at Kuteera.He was paid Rs 50,000 a month.With his master in jail,he has left the house.Some say that he is now working in a five-star hotel run by Janardhana in Hospet.One thing is certain — he has not been seen in Bellary for the past one month, a local BJP leader said.Had the chef been in the house,Sriramulu,who called a press conference there a couple of days ago,would not have ordered food from outside.

LIFE IN KUTEERA

Reddys house is the stuff that dreams are made of.Placed against a picturesque backdrop of the Bellary fort,the house is uniquely designed with a rare collection of wooden carvings.According to police personnel who accompanied CBI sleuths to the house,the staircases were made of glass and there were all kinds of luxuries a swanky swimming pool,mini cinema theatre,well-decorated and ornate puja room,foreign liquor cabinet etc.

During raids,CBI sleuths seized a 15-kg royal gold chair and other costly furniture,and ornaments made of gold,diamonds and platinum that were stored in the locker hidden under the cot.They also sought permission from the court to seize 53 items.Apart from that,the Reddy family operated four lockers in nationalised banks in Bellary and 200 lockers in a private bank.The CBI recovered 13 kg gold and 2.68 crore hard cash from the lockers at the private bank.

We do not know whether the seized goods have been taken to Hyderabad.Having lived in such luxury,it would be difficult to live in the mansion without them, the officer said.

As of now,the construction of an ornate compound wall around the house has stopped.”Work has been going on for the last three years.It took such a long time as local leaders had objected to the height of the compound wall which violated city corporation bye-laws.But Reddy did not care a hoot and continued after getting the required approval, a source said.

SECURITY WOES

With Janardhana Reddy muscling his way up Bellarys power ladder,it became increasingly clear that he would need an army of musclemen to protect him.He didnt waste time.Reddy hired more than 20-25 private gunmen,apart from the local police security, said a police officer from Bellary.They were well-trained and smart and came from Bihar,Uttar Pradesh and Haryana.

There were a few who had even undergone commando training and were sharp shooters.But after the arrest,most of them have gone back and only about four to five remain.Its the same with the local police.Earlier,there used to be a company of KSRP with more than 35 personnel,but gradually it came down to six or seven.Now even that has been withdrawn by the district administration,”the police officer explained.

Sources within the BJP unit in Bellary say that each of the private gunmen was given a handsome salary ranging from Rs 30,000 to Rs 50,000,keeping in mind their experience and duties.If there was even a whiff of doubt about their loyalty,the personnel would be immediately replaced.

The cost of maintaining Kuteera,including the salaries of these security personnel,worked out to Rs 50 lakh per month.”But with the number of security personnel and other activities coming down,the cost is down to approximately Rs 5 lakh per month.Though the CBI has seized most of their assets,certain properties and business establishments are still operating,bringing in enough revenue to sustain them.Of late,there have been rumours about office staff not getting their salaries regularly,”explained a BJP worker who was a part of Kuteera a couple of years ago.

BROTHERS BECOME RECLUSES

With Janardhana Reddy languishing in Chanchalaguda prison,his brothers,Karunakara and Somashekara,have confined themselves to their bungalows.You might spot Somashekhara at some local functions,but not Karunakara, a local BJP leader told .Since Janardhanas arrest,Karunakara has been staying indoors,inaccessible to all.On the rare occasions

The swanky school that Reddys son Kiruti attends

The Reddys at the height of power

The police quarter where Janardhana was born He ventures out,he accompanies Sriramulu and his sister,J Shantha,to visit Janardhanas home,Kuteera,and console his family.In fact,they are the only ones who visit Kuteera now.

The intense investigations by the CBI sleuths have triggered panic among Reddys cronies.With the sleuths raiding several of their followers homes,many have fled Bellary,at least for the time being.Some even closed their bank accounts, the BJP leader said.During Diwali,when the town was bathed in light,their homes were pitch dark.Every year they used to burst crackers worth lakhs of rupees.But this year,not a single cracker was burst.

A BJP worker said,Even the guards of Kuteera and the staff of Janardhana Reddys office used to party often.There used to be exotic dishes and lots of booze.Now,most of the guards and staff have disappeared.The few who are still there seem to have forgotten to smile.


POLITICAL LIFE

The CBI raid and subsequent interrogations have completely changed the citys political landscape.Before the raid,the Reddys ruled the entire district with the exception of Sandur taluk which was a Congress stronghold.They were the satraps even in the local bodies.

Huge cutouts,flex banners,signboards,and buntings were a permanent fixture in major streets and localities in Bellary.Even when nothing was happening in the city,someone or the other would put up Reddy’s cutout next to theirs during party or family functions, recalled a party worker.

Not anymore.Despite the Bellary bypoll,not a single banner or cutout is seen in any part of the city.Nobody knows whether Karunakara Reddy is present in Bellary or in Hyderabad.Only Somashekara Reddy has been seen at a few local functions a far cry from the days when the Reddys were on top, said a Congress leader with barely-concealed glee.

Sources in Bellary political circles say that Reddys political team comprised nine persons including himself.But its now a divided team,with a few staying loyal to Reddy and Sriramulu,a few others declaring their allegiance to the saffron party and the rest struggling in a sea of confusion.

If all was well,they would have kickstarted their campaign.Cholagurki village was considered lucky for them but even there,nothing is happening.We wonder what plan they have, said a former Congress MLA.

POLICE COLONY TUGGED AT ITS SON

Despite Reddy’s lavish lifestyle,he has always had a soft corner for the DAR police quarters at Sathyanarayanapet in Bellary where he was born and brought up.We remember him and his elder brother Somashekara Reddy.They would go to the nearby fields to get grass and fodder for their cow, recalled a resident of the police colony.

In fact,a few days before his arrest,Reddy had taken a trip down memory lane,going back to the colony and seeking permission from the present occupant of the house where he lived to spend a few hours there,neighbours said.


SKY WAS BEHIND ALL HIS DREAMS

Since his childhood,Reddy has always been fascinated by the vastness of an unending sky.He felt that all things in life should similarly have no end.

He was also fascinated by the light blue colour of the sky it was his favourite colour and most of his clothes reflected this.Even on the day of his arrest,Janardhana Reddy wore a light blue shirt and black trousers.

He used to tell his friends that it didnt matter if there was no money in the pocket,but you should have dreams in your mind, a neighbour at the colony recalled.

TEMPLE SAGA

Janardhana Reddys donation in June 2009 of a Rs 42-crore diamond crown to Lord Venkateshwara at Tirupati only added to his aura.But now,even the Suggalamma Devi temple in Obalapuram and Kanaka Durga temple in Bellary city that played crucial roles in the Reddys lives have not been immune to the convulsions in the district.

Though the Suggulamma Devi temple put the Reddys in a bad light following the transgression of state boundaries,the Kanaka Durga temple has almost always brought them luck.

During his tenure as tourism minister,Janardhana Reddy got funds sanctioned both from his department and the religious department to renovate the Kanaka Durga temple.But work has now ground to a halt.

The contractor from Tamil Nadu has not been paid for the previous work.As a result,work on three gopurams and the temple walls has stopped.We have written to the government through the district administration to release additional funds, said a member of the temple management committee.

BJP sources in Bellary revealed that Reddy or his family members would always visited the temple on special occasions.Once a year on his birthday,Janardhana Reddy would drive down to the temple in his Rs 4-crore Rolls Royce to perform Ksheerabhishekam.Apart from that,a member of the family would visit the temple during full moon and no-moon days and make whopping contributions, a priest at the temple said.

However,the contribution during the last visit was Rs 100 to Rs 200,a party worker who was part of the temple visit said.

Sources say that Janardhana Reddy’s wife and well-wishers in the family visited the temple and prayed to the goddess on his bail plea hearing day.But their wish was not granted and nobody has visited the temple after that.

This apart,even the festive season took a beating this year.During Ganesh Chaturthi and Diwali,people would queue up before Kuteera.Reddy and his family would dole out money or gifts,but there were hardly any visitors this Diwali.And those who did visit came back empty-handed, a Sriramulu loyalist said,adding that the trickle of people is slowly increasing thanks to the impending by-election.

A file photo of Janardhana Reddy and Sriramulu with their one-time godmother,Sushma Swaraj

Work was on at the Suggulamma Devi temple in Bellary,but following Reddys arrest it has been halted

 

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Posted November 14, 2011 by avinash2060 in Uncategorized

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