Mining baron and Karnataka Tourism Minister Gali Janardhana Reddy once boasted that his assets are worth more than Rs.1,000 crore.He had taken exception to an opposition member’s comment that he and his two brothers – Revenue Minister G. Karunakara Reddy and assembly member G. Somashekara Reddy – are worth only over Rs.100 crore.
That is typical Janardhana Reddy – aggressive and ambitious, exercising cross-border clout across Karnataka and neighbouring Andhra Pradesh where their father Chenga Reddy served as a police constable.
The money power comes from the billions of rupees from iron ore exports and political influence from proximity to senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader Sushma Swaraj and the family of late Andhra Pradesh chief minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy (YSR).
Janardhana Reddy’s boast shows the brothers’ actual assets will remain in realm of speculation, in spite of whatever they declare to election officials and income tax authorities.
Janardhana Reddy has declared he is worth over Rs.150 crore, that includes a gold chair worth over Rs.2 crore.That is pittance, compared to what the brothers gifted to Hindu gods in the last three years – a diamond studded crown estimated at Rs.45 crore to Lord Venkateshwara at Tirupathi and diamond-studded ornaments and gold-woven clothes costing around Rs.15 crore to Srikalahasti temple, both in Andhra Pradesh.
His two brothers, the elder Karunakara and younger Somasekhara had over Rs.50 lakh (Rs.5 million) in cash just ahead of the May 2008 assembly elections, which they both won, according to the affidavits they filed with the state election office.And the three brothers are constructing a house worth Rs.10 crore in their political base Bellary, the iron ore rich district in Karnataka bordering Andhra Pradesh.
Bellary, about 300 km from Bangalore, is among the most backward in the state and once a popular saying went something like — “If you sin in this world, you will go to hell and if you sin in hell, you will be born in Bellary”.Even Janardhana Reddy’s educational qualification is not free from controversy.
The BJP website as well as the Karnataka legislative council portal give his qualification as SSLC (Secondary School Leaving Certificate), which is equivalent to 10th standard.But the Bramhani Industries Ltd he floated in 2007 to build south India’s biggest steel plant in Kadapa in Andhra Pradesh says he is a commerce graduate.Kadapa is the stronghold of late YSR’s family. His son Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy, who quit the Congress and floated the YSR Congress, recently won the Kadapa Lok Sabha seat in a bypoll by a record margin of over 500,000 votes. Jagan, as he is popularly called, is said to be Reddys’ business partner.Brahmani is a subsidiary of Obulapuram Mining Company owned by Janardhana Reddy.Janardhana Reddy, 44, is a member of the Karnataka legislative council. His wife G. Lakshmi Aruna is a director of Bramhani Industries and is described by the company as “guiding strength in all her husband’s endeavors”. The couple has a son and a daughter.Karunakara is 49 years old. He and his wife G.Vanaja have two sons.
The declared assets of Karunaraka family are over Rs.15 crore.Somashekara, 43, is a post-graduate in commerce. His wife is G.Vijaya and they have two sons. Their declared assets are over Rs.10 crore. The couple owns gold jewellery of around 2.3 kg valued at over Rs.27 lakh (Rs.2.7 million).Janardhana Reddy may be neck deep in controversies, but he started off the business saga with a firm, ironically named, Ennoble India Savings and Investment Company Ltd when he was 21.
It folded up after a few years but set the Reddys on a path to riches and political power that has the country’s second largest party squirming about its association with them.