Ballari mining baron and former Karnataka minister G Janardhana Reddy appeared for questioning in Bengaluru in an alleged bribery case on Saturday.
Reddy is under probe by Bengaluru crime branch for possible links to a man accused of running a ponzi scheme. Syed Ahmed Fareed, who is being investigated by the Enforcement Directorate for the 600 crore scam, has claimed that he paid Rs 18 crore to Reddy for “help” in settling the ED case, the Bengaluru police had said.
According to the police, Fareed allegedly cheated around 15,000 people to the tune of Rs 600 crore through his company Ambidant Marketing Finance Ltd by promising them 40-50% interest on investment. After a complaint was filed against him by some members of the public last year, raids had been conducted on his offices and residences by the Enforcement Directorate earlier this year and his bank accounts were frozen.
Bengaluru police commissioner T Suneel Kumar said on Wednesday that the city police’s Central Crime Branch had been conducting a parallel investigation into Fareed’s affairs, based on the complaints it had received
“While the probe was going on, the officials came across a particular transaction of Rs 18 crore. Upon investigation it was found that the money was transferred from Ambidant to Ramesh Kothari, who runs a bullion business called Ambika Jewellers,” Kumar said.
Upon being questioned, Kothari said he had given 57 kg of gold to Ramesh, who runs Rajmahal Jewellers, and he revealed that he, in turn, had handed over the gold to Reddy’s assistant Ali Khan, he added.
According to the police, Fareed said he paid the amount because he was promised by Reddy and others that they would “help him out” with the ED’s case. Some meetings have taken place between Reddy, Ali Khan and Fareed, police said.
So far, Fareed and Ramesh of Rajmahal Jewellers have been arrested, and Kothari has been questioned, the police said.