Mining Mafia Given Election Tickets By The BJP in Karnataka, Claims Congress. Metafact Takes A Closer Look.

Mining Mafia Given Election Tickets By The BJP in Karnataka, Claims Congress.  Metafact Takes A Closer Look.

Claim:

According to the Indian National Congress, the Reddy brothers and their associates have been involved in illegal iron mining and related export scams but are still running for office in the Karnataka state elections with the full support of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Sources:

News Websites, Facebook, Twitter.

What Happened:

The hashtag #ModiFiedReddyBros, along with the image below, began trending on Twitter after the BJP gave eight assembly tickets to the Reddy brothers and their associates in the upcoming Karnataka elections.

 

 

 

G Karunakara Reddy and G Somashekar Reddy have been selected as candidates to contest elections for the Harpanahalli and Ballari seats in the Ballari district in Karnataka. The BJP has also has fielded Lallesh Reddy, one of the nephews of the Reddy brothers, as the candidate for the BTM Layout constituency in Bengaluru. After the names of Reddy brothers were announced as candidates, the Congress president Rahul Gandhi pointedly asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Twitter to clarify his stance on corruption, since on the one hand, he was attacking the incumbent Congress government in Karnataka with charges of corruption, but on the other, was giving poll tickets to accused or convicted criminals.

 

FactCheck – The Reddy Brothers And Their Associates

Metafact decided to examine the eight politicians closely to determine how accurate the Congress claims are. The Congress has specifically used the word ‘criminal’ in the image they have circulated on social media, so our focus is on criminal charges that are pending and cases that have been filed against these men. We used news websites, Wikipedia, law enforcement websites, and politician information websites as our primary sources.

 

Janardhana Reddy

 

Gali Janardhana Reddy is one of the richest politicians in Karnataka. His political career includes a stint as the Bellary district BJP President, and he was a Member of the Legislative Council in 2006. He was also appointed Cabinet Minister for Tourism and Infrastructure in the B. S. Yedurappa-led BJP Cabinet that governed Karnataka between 2008 and 2013. Janardhana is one of the Reddy brothers involved in the Rs 35,000 crore illegal mining case in Karnataka. An FIR in the case was filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). Following this, Santosh Hegde, the Lokayukta in Karnataka, registered cases against him regarding illegal mining, and he was remanded to judicial custody for a period of 42 months.

 

In 2009, the Central Empowerment Committee, which had been appointed by the Supreme Court, recommended action against the Reddy-owned Obulapuram Mining Company. In total, Reddy has had 63 charges filed against him, most pertaining to illegal mining and related extortion schemes. Reddy was a minister till a month or so before he was arrested in September 2011 by the CBI. Reddy was arrested under illegal mining charges twice – once in 2011 and then again in 2015. He was granted bail by the Supreme Court in 2015 but has been banned from campaigning or even entering Bellary (his centre of power) in the upcoming elections. While the CBI has closed some of the cases against him, citing technicalities or lack of evidence, the Congress government in Karnataka has reopened the investigation by assigning it to a State Special Investigation Team.

 

Karunakara Reddy

 

Gali Karunakara Reddy – who once represented Ballari in the 14th Lok Sabha from 2004 to 2008 –  is the eldest of the Reddy brothers. KarunakarA Reddy is the candidate for the seat of Harpanahalli, a town in Bellary district from where he won the 2008 assembly elections against Congress’ former deputy chief minister MP Prakash. Subsequently, he was made a minister in the government of Mr Yeddyurappa. He was interrogated in the illegal mining case that his brothers, Janardhan Reddy and Srinivas Reddy, are accused in.

 

There was a case against Karunakara filed under the SC/ST Atrocities Act over a land dispute by B Sriramulu, the incumbent Bellary parliamentarian and a close aide of his brothers, Janardhana and Somashekar. After Reddy had moved the court, claiming that Sriramulu had sold plots of land that belonged to him without his permission, this case was filed against him. However, the charges were later withdrawn, and he currently has no criminal cases pending against him.

 

 

Somasekhar Reddy

 

Somasekhar Reddy is the youngest of the Reddy brothers. Reddy, who represented Bellary in the Karnataka assembly, is accused, along with other family members, of bribing a judge in the 100 crore cash-for-bail case that involved Janardhan Reddy. He has a number of criminal charges against him, including criminal breach of trust, criminal intimidation, and illegal payments in connection with an election.

The full list of charges against Somashekara Reddy can be found HERE.

 

Lallesh Reddy

 

 

Lallesh Reddy, a close relative of Gali Janardhan Reddy, has been fielded by the BJP from BTM Layout against the incumbent MLA and current Home Minister of Karnataka, R Ramalinga Reddy in the forthcoming assembly polls. An MBA holder and a realtor, Lallesh Reddy is a social worker involved in causes like HIV protection, orphanages, old age homes and the like. He appears to be untainted by mining-related accusations, with no criminal cases against him.

 

B Sriramulu

 

 

Currently a member of the 16th Lok Sabha representing the Bellary Lok Sabha constituency, Sriramulu was previously a member of the current Karnataka legislative assembly representing the Bellary Rural Constituency. He is a close aide of Janardhana and Somasekhara Reddy, and was the Health Minister in the Government of Karnataka between 2008 and 2011.

 

In September 2011, he resigned as an MLA, and later quit the BJP, for what he claimed was the humiliation of his political mentor, Janardhana Reddy, by the BJP leadership. Subsequently, he contested as an Independent candidate from the Bellary Rural constituency and won. He then floated a regional party, Badava Shramika Raitha Congress or BSR Congress. However, in March 2014, he re-joined the BJP and successfully contested the Lok Sabha election from Bellary as a BJP candidate. He will be contesting the Karnataka election from the Molakalmuru constituency. He has a cheating case filed against him by a former aide, who alleged that Sriramulu had promised him a ticket to contest the Lok Sabha elections. A close aide of the Reddy brothers, he has a number of charges filed against him, the most serious of which are an attempt to murder, using dangerous weapons, and defiling a place of worship.

 

The full list of charges against Sriramulu can be found HERE.

 

Sanna Pakirappa

 

 

Sanna Pakirappa was a member of the 15th Lok Sabha, representing the Raichur constituency. He is B. Sriramulu’s uncle and will be representing the BJP in the upcoming Karnataka elections from the Bellary (rural) constituency. The seat was previously held by Sriramulu himself in 2013, but he vacated it so that he could contest the 2014 parliamentary elections. While Metafact couldn’t find any cases registered against him, his son, Muthu Pakirappa, was booked for assaulting a girl in 2013.

 

T H Suresh Babu

 

 

On the 20th of September, 2013, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) arrested the incumbent Kampli MLA T.H. Suresh Babu, in connection with the Belikeri missing iron ore case. He had been previously arrested by the CBI in connection with the case relating to illegally attempting to secure bail for his business partner-cum-mentor, Janardhana Reddy, in August 2012. Suresh Babu was also allegedly involved in illegally exporting over 8 lakh tonnes of iron ore through the port of Belikeri. The full list of charges framed against Babu can be found HERE.

 

 

The full list of charges framed against Yeddyurappa can be found HERE.

 

“Kingpin” Yeddyurappa

 

 

BS Yeddyurappa was born on the 27th of February, 1943, in the Mandya district of Karnataka. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree and has been a farmer, a clerk, and has run a hardware shop. According to his official website, he joined the RSS when he was fifteen, and later made his way into its political arm, the BJP.

One of the charges against Mr Yeddyurappa is nepotism and using his office to benefit his children. In 2012, the Supreme Court ordered a CBI inquiry against him for nepotism, illegal land acquisition and favouring top mining companies. Yeddyurappa, his sons, his son-in-law, JSW Steel, and their four Bellary-based affiliates are the accused in the Rs 40-crore bribery case. They were charged under the following IPC sections, including 120-B (conspiracy) and 420 (cheating) and under provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 and Karnataka Land (Restriction on) Transfer Act. The former Chief Minister and his family have also been accused of illegally selling a one-acre of government-notified land near Bengaluru for Rs 20 crore, according to The Indian Express.

 

 

The full list of charges framed against Yeddyurappa can be found HERE.

Conclusion:

While the image circulated by the Congress states that all the accused are involved in mining-related scams, that is a little misleading. Factually and legally speaking, not all of the men listed have been accused in mining related scams. Karunakara Reddy, Lallesh Reddy and Sanna Pakirappa have no cases filed against them, mining related or otherwise. Moreover, proximity to corruption isn’t always an indicator of corruption, and is a very slippery slope to base allegations on, bordering on the libelous. It is also worth noting, in this context, that almost all of the cases involve chargesheets, not convictions. The list and extent of these charges though, which are based on the 8,000 page Lokayukta report by Justice Hedge, does explain the sobriquet of ‘mining mafia’ that has been bestowed on the Reddy brothers and their associates.

Partially True

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