Temple priest takes on Janardhana Reddy

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Bangalore: As a child, Jali Janardhana Reddy is believed to have been greatly fascinated by the grandeur of mythological characters. When the Reddy siblings ‘ruled’ Bellary, their lifestyle mirrored that fascination. Helicopters frequently landing and taking off from their private helipad located in a residential area, swanky imported cars with all the bells and whistles, a hi-tech bus and a house that would rival a palace with workers and helps at just about everyone’s elbow. A more accurate gauge of the extent of their power was the way local authorities or the common man in Bellary ‘bowed’ before their might.

But that is changing. In perhaps the first-ever complaint from an ordinary man against the Reddys, a priest of a temple has, in a complaint to the Lokayukta, accused the former minister and mining baron of attaching a public road to his private property.

Poojari Thimmaiah, priest of a temple dedicated to Lord Hanuman near Reddy’s palatial house in Bellary, states in his complaint that Reddy, using his powers as minister in the BJP government, even had the road deleted from district plans and maps by falsely stating that it was unused. Thimmaiah’s complaint was submitted to Upa Lokayukta, Justice Subhash B Adi during his visit to the district last week. Justice Adi has directed the district administration to restore the road and has ordered an inquiry.

“We received several petitions from people in Bellary on several issues and one of them was against the former minister G Janardhana Reddy,” Justice Adi told BANGALORE MIRROR. “A priest alleged that he (Reddy) had turned a public road into his private property. It affected devotees visiting the temple. I have directed the district administration to set the matter right.”

Sources say Thimmaiah’s complaint is perhaps the first sign of people openly coming out against the Reddys. Thimmaiah states in his complaint that the Reddys misused their power and acquired the land illegally. The road was made part of Reddy’s property at the cost of hundreds of the general public. The stretch is said to have led to Shirguppa and several affected farmers, who feared taking on the Reddys on the issue, have now also complained to the Lokayukta.

A complaint was registered against Reddy on July 17. Justice Adi has directed the district administration to update him on the results of the probe.

“The petitioner alleged that he (Reddy) did it (deleting the road from maps) by moving a resolution,” Justice Adi said. “Public roads cannot be closed just like that. I have directed the district administration to act,” Justice Adi said.

When contacted, Aditya Amlan Biswas, Deputy Commissioner, Bellary, merely said the matter is being probed. “It is under inquiry as per the directions of honourable Upa Lokayukta,” Biswas said.

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