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SC permits mining baron G. Janardhana Reddy to visit Ballari
New Delhi, Aug 19 - The Supreme Court on Thursday allowed mining baron Gali Janardhana Reddy, accused in the multi-crore illegal mining case, to visit and stay in Karnataka's Ballari district for a period of eight weeks.
A bench of Justices Vineet Saran and Dinesh Maheshwari said: "It is directed that the condition imposed to not visit these three places in bail order be modified." The top court modified the condition imposed by it in its January 20, 2015 bail order to allow Reddy to visit and stay in Ballari for eight weeks.
Reddy was granted bail in illegal mining case registered by the CBI on December 7, 2009. He was then ordered not to visit Ballari in Karnataka, and Ananthpuram and Kadapa districts in Andhra Pradesh.
The bench noted that the trial has not even commenced, and that the petitioner has not violated any bail condition even when he visited Ballari. It observed the trial court should endeavour to expedite the trial, as his lawyers argued that the CBI has not made any effort to do so.
Opposing Reddy's plea, the CBI said he was an influential person and should not be allowed to visit Ballari as most of the witnesses in the case belonged to the place. Additional Solicitor General Madhvi Divan contended that he has attempted to subvert the judicial process, therefore the bail condition ought not be modified.
The top court said the modified bail condition was subject to Reddy intimating the Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) of his visit.
Reddy, represented by senior advocates Mukul Rohatgi and Ranjit Kumar, in his application for modifying the bail conditions, contended that the trial in the case has yet not commenced and he shouldn't suffer for it. Counsel further added that certain stay orders were granted in applications by other co-accused, for which Reddy cannot be held responsible.
As Divan said that the 2015 bail order was consensual and he should not be allowed now to seek its modification, Reddy's lawyers pointed out that the CBI had filed charge sheets in the case as well as a memo on July 16, 2021 before the court of principal special judge, Hyderabad, stating that investigation is complete.
The top court has listed the matter for further hearing in the third week of November.
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