Bellary, notorious for its Reddy brothers who ran mining mafia defying two state governments in the south, is in the news again with Rs.8.5-crore in cash seized on Saturday from Babu Lal, a financier backing B. Sriramulu, a BJP contestant and a close friend of Reddy brothers in Bellary.
“We raided the house of Babu Lal, a financier-cum-transporter, in the town late Friday and found cash bundles of Rs.1,000 and Rs.500 notes in many trunks equivalent to Rs.8.7 crore,” Bellary Additional Superintendent of Police C.K. Baba told IANS.
The raid also led to the recovery of several cheques collectively equivalent to Rs.4.5 crore and share certificates and debentures valued at Rs.5 crore.
“We have booked a case against Babu Lal and are interrogating him to ascertain the source of cash and cheques, as we learnt that the currency notes in trunks are intended to be distributed to voters in the elections next week,” Baba said.
Polling for Bellary Lok Sabha reserved (SC) constituency will be held April 17, in which the BJP has fielded B.R. Sriramaulu to fight for the seat his sister J. Shanta won in the 2009 general elections.
“Election materials, including pamphlets with lotus printed on them (party symbol of the BJP) were found along with cash in the trunks that had polling booth numbers marked for distribution on or before the polling date,” Baba noted.
In another raid at Hospet, about 70 km from Bellary, police seized unaccounted cash worth Rs.1.2 crore from a businessman’s house and are questioning him to ascertain its source and purpose.
“Though both the recoveries are not related, we are trying to find out their source and for what or whom they are meant as the cash has not been accounted so far,” Baba added.
Meanwhile, state Chief Electoral Officer Anil Kumar Jha told IANS that his officials were yet to confirm if the cash seized at Bellary-Hospet were connected with elections.
“I am waiting for a report from the district deputy commissioner (Amlan Aditya Biswas), who is the returning officer for the Bellary parliamentary poll. The cash haul, however, is the biggest till date in this election,” Jha said.
The mining town shot to fame for its mineral resources, especially iron ore, and the notoriety it earned from multi-crore rupee illegal mining and exports, for which local mining baron and former Bharatiya Janata Party minister G. Janardhan Reddy was jailed in September 2011.
Reddy brothers and Sriramulu were childhood friends and comrades in running the notorious mining mafia.