Reddy associate Sriramulu denies absconding fearing arrest

September 17th, 2011 - 11:08 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Bellary (Karnataka), Sep 17 (IANS) B. Sriramulu, a former Karnataka minister and staunch follower of arrested mining baron G. Janardhana Reddy, Saturday denied he was absconding fearing arrest over illegal mining.

“I have not gone anywhere and have not been summoned by CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation),” Sriramulu, former director of Reddy’s Obulapuram Mining Company, told reporters in this north Karnataka town, about 300 km from Bangalore.

Sriramulu, who was a minister along with Janardhana and his elder brother G. Karunakara Reddy in the B.S. Yeddyurappa cabinet, has not been seen in public ever since the mining baron was arrested by CBI on Sep 5 for illegal mining in Andhra Pradesh.

A day before Janardhana’s arrest, Sriramulu had announced he was resigning from the assembly as he was “hurt” at being named in the illegal mining scam by the Lokayukta (ombudsman) and would tour the state to explain the “truth” to the people.

The move was seen in political circles as an attempt by the Reddy brothers to assess public support and float a regional party as neither they nor their loyalists were made ministers in the D.V. Sadananda Gowda cabinet that succeeded the Yeddyurappa ministry Aug 4.

With Janardhana’s arrest on Sep 5, Sriramulu was forced to drop the state tour plan and was not seen in public.

Soon after the Lokayuka report indicting him, Janardhana and Karunaka was made public in July last week, Sriramulu had said there was no justification to name him in illegal mining scam as he had resigned as OMC director in 2008.

Karunakara was also an OMC director and had resigned in 2004.

However, the CBI had summoned him and he appeared for interrogation in Hyderabad Friday. On Thursday, the youngest of the three Reddy brothers, G. Somashekara appeared before CBI in Hyderabad.

“I will fully cooperate with the CBI if summoned,” Sriramulu said.

He also said he was firm on quitting the assembly.

Speaker K.G. Bopaiah has not accepted Sriramulu’s resignation though it was submitted in person to him two weeks back.

Answering a barrage of questions on whether the non-acceptance of the resignation so far meant that he was “staging a drama”, Sriramulu said: “Not at all. I am firm. Speaker wanted some clarification and I have given them.”

The opposition Congress and Janata Dal-Secular have been lambasting Bopaiah for “sitting over the resignation” to help ruling Bharatiya Janata Party to make Sriramulu withdraw it.

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