Nothing substantial may happen in IT notice to G. Janardhan Reddy over...

Nothing substantial may happen in IT notice to G. Janardhan Reddy over huge marriage expenses

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There are media reports about the Income Tax department having issued a notice to former Minister and BJP leader G. Janardhan Reddy for explaining the huge amount spent on the marriage of his daughter. Media reports suggest that the expenditure was in the range of ₹ 200 to 500 crore. However, I do not think anything of substance will come out of such notice. He has the money power and also support of the ruling party at Centre which controls the Income Tax department. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is not the only person in the Government; he may not even know what all is happening. There are others who can directly or indirectly support such people.

While on this issue, I remember an incident. In 2013-2014, I was appearing in the Supreme Court as a Special Counsel, in that case representing CBI, and opposing the bail application of G. Janardhan Reddy (it was a mining scam case worth hundreds of crores of rupees). We strongly opposed his bail application on several court dates successfully. He could not get bail from the Supreme Court. Then, there was change of Government at Centre. Due to certain personal reasons, I voluntarily resigned from the post of Special Counsel on behalf of Union of India within a month or so of the court reopening. But, before I resigned I could notice change in attitude of the new law officer. I had a heated argument with the law officer who repeatedly asked me how could we oppose his bail application since Reddy was in pre-trial custody for more than 3 years. My argument was as to why should we not oppose because G. Janardhan Reddy had the history of bribing a Special Judge (CBI court) in Hyderabad with crores of rupees to get bail in another case (for this bribe, another case was registered against him and the Special judge) and that he had also threatened some witnesses whose statements were on record. My argument was that if Reddy could bribe a judge to get bail in that other case and if he could threaten witnesses while being in jail, how could it be believed that he would not influence other lesser mortals (i.e., ordinary witnesses) once he gets bail. I also argued that if we do not have the courage of opposing bail while appearing on behalf of CBI which was what was the least expected of us, then we should not accept the brief on behalf of CBI and drop out from the case. Any way, till I appeared in the case on behalf of the CBI, Reddy was denied the bail by the Supreme Court since we strongly opposed the grant of bail on every occasion. However, subsequently, after I had resigned from the post of Special Counsel, I was informed by the concerned CBI officer that bail was granted to him since the law officer appearing on behalf of CBI did not object to it on instructions received from CBI for which a specific affidavit was also filed (for not opposing bail). And, apparently, the Supreme Court was pleased to grant him bail, though normally in such matters, the courts would generally decline bail even if the investigating agency is silent or not objecting.

Given such background and the way such people can manage the system, frankly speaking, I do not think anything substantial will come out from such Income Tax department notice. Generally, it is expected to be an eyewash. To befool people. Yes, of course, I am willing to be proved wrong and, in fact, it would be my pleasure if I am proved wrong and if the IT department takes some “real” action against him.

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