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Order reserved on bail pleas of Reddy, associates

Chennai: A CBI court here today reserved its order for December 30 on the bail petitions of sand mining baron Shekar Reddy and four others who have been arrested on the charge of exchanging unaccounted scrapped Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes with Rs 2,000 notes to the tune crores of rupees.

Principal Special Court for CBI cases Judge Vijayalakshmi reserved order and posted the matter for December 30.

Reddy and his associates were arrested by CBI on December 21 following the “seizure” of 127 kg gold and over Rs 170 crore in cash, including new currency notes, from their premises by the Income-Tax department in coordinated searches.

They were remanded to judicial custody.

When their bail pleas came up for hearing, counsels for the accused said CBI had violated the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act by arresting private people who were not public servants under the act and no bank officials had been named in the FIR.

Reddy’s lawyer contended that the amount seized was lawful and earned in sand mining operations over a period of 25 days.

Similarly, counsels for other accused said they were innocent.

Opposing the bail pleas, the Special Public Prosecutor said the case was in preliminary stage of investigation.

While common people were facing difficulty in getting Rs 2,000 notes, the accused had unaccounted and illegal cash in new Rs 2,000 notes worth Rs 24 crore.

The prosecutor also said the money was seized from the vehicle belonging to one Rishikumar, who was on the run.

Pointing to discrepancy in reports over the quantity of Rs 2,000 notes seized, the judge asked the prosecution to state clearly whether the new notes seized were worth Rs 24 crore or Rs 34 crore.
The five have been accused of converting the unaccounted cash held by them in old currency notes to new notes with the help of unknown public servants of different banks within 24 days from the date demonetisation on November 8.

Cases had been registered against them for various offences under the IPC including criminal breach of trust, cheating and criminal conspiracy and under Sec 13(1) and (2) of PCA.