A judge in Andhra Pradesh has been accused of accepting a bribe of five crores to grant bail on May 12 to Gali Janardhana Reddy, a former minister in the Karnataka government and a mining baron. Mr Reddy was arrested by the CBI in September last year for alleged illegal mining by his company, Obulapuram Mining Corporation (OMC).
Sources say the CCTV footage establishes a group of people who allegedly served as the go-betweens for Mr Reddy and the judge. They said they had also investigated bank lockers to gather what they termed as evidence against the judge, T Pattabhi Rama Rao.
Mr Rao, who headed a special court that handles CBI cases, has been suspended by the Andhra Pradesh High Court and sources said the CBI was expected to register a case against him. In last month's order now under scrutiny, Mr Rao had granted bail to Mr Reddy, but rejected bail for another accused in the mining case, IAS officer Y Srilakshmi.
PTI adds: The order suspending Mr Rao was issued last night by the Registrar General (Vigilance); the order said that after considering information received against the judge, the High Court had decided that it was necessary to place him under suspension in public interest, with immediate effect.
The order said that Mr Rao would continue to be under suspension till the conclusion of disciplinary proceedings that would be initiated against him. Suspending the judge under Rule 8(1) of the AP Civil Services (CC&A) Rules, 1991, the High Court also directed that Mr Rao shall not leave Hyderabad without its permission during his suspension.
Principal Judge for CBI cases, A Pullaiah, has been placed in full additional charge of the post of the First Additional Special Judge for CBI cases, the order said.
Mr Rao was appointed a CBI court judge in April this year after three Additional Special CBI courts were opened in Hyderabad's Gagan Vihar.
Opposition parties have said the incident has shaken public confidence on whether justice will be done in such high-profile cases involving influential people.