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Karnataka official arrested in driver’s suicide case

Bengaluru: Karnataka revenue officer Bhima Naik was arrested on Sunday for abetting the suicide of his driver, who had accused him of helping mining baron G. Janardhan Reddy convert Rs 100 crore of black money for his daughter’s wedding, said police.

“A four-member investigation team led by Sub Inspector Ravi Kumar arrested Naik along with his other driver Mohammed from his relative’s house at Kalaburgi,” Mandya’s Superintendent of Police Sudhir Kumar told IANS.

Naik is land acquisition officer in Bengaluru Rural.

“Naik and Mohammed are being brought to Mandya under escort from Kalaburgi for interrogation by the CID to which the case has been transferred as it involves money laundering charge too,” the SP said.

In his six-page suicide note, his driver K.C. Ramesh, 31, who consumed poison in a lodge in Mandya district’s Maddur on Tuesday, accused Naik of helping Reddy convert black money into white ahead of the latter’s daughter’s wedding here on November.

The note also claimed that Naik had laundered the black money for about 20 per cent commission from Reddy after Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes were demonetised on November 8, while Ramesh said that he was forced to take his life following death threats as he had information on how Reddy had converted the black money.

Naik was on the run since an FIR for abetment of suicide was filed on December 7 on a complaint filed by Ramesh’s brother K.C. Mahendra on the basis of the note, recovered from the lodge room where Ramesh was found dead.

Reddy, a former BJP minister in the state (2008-2011), performed the marriage of his only daughter Brahamani, 21, with Rajeev Reddy, 23, a rich businessman from Hyderabad, in the Bangalore Palace grounds at an estimated cost of Rs 500 crore.

According to Kumar, Ramesh’s note also claimed that Reddy along with BJP Lok Sabha MP B. Sriramulu met Naik at a hotel here several days ahead of the wedding.

Sriramulu however had told reporters in New Delhi last week that he or Reddy had nothing to do with the case and it was a personal fight between the driver and Naik, which police should investigate.

IANS