IN THE light of the demonetisation exercise to flush out black money, the forthcoming wedding of Karnataka’s former BJP minister Gali Janardhan Reddy’s daughter has come under the scanner of the Income-Tax Department on account of the multi-crore expenditure the event is expected to incur.
The I-T department is monitoring the source of funds following reports that the wedding will cost more than Rs 100 crore, sources in the department said.
Reddy’s daughter Brahmani is scheduled to marry a businessman from Andhra Pradesh on Wednesday at a ceremony to be held on the Palace Ground in Bengaluru.
A mining baron from Bellary, the former BJP minister was arrested in 2012 in connection with cases of corruption and illegal mining and released on bail last year. Reddy is awaiting trial. Rs 1,200 crore worth assets he had accumulated between 2007 and 2011, allegedly through illegal means, were seized by the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate (ED), among others, in 2012-13. He was a minister between 2008 and 2011.
A special CBI court in Bengaluru had allowed Reddy to go to his hometown — Bellary — a week ago to enable him to invite his former constituents for the wedding. Reddy was given a huge welcome by his former associates, including local BJP MLA B Sreeramulu, in Bellary.
Former Supreme Court judge N Santosh Hegde, during whose tenure as Karnataka Lokayukta the allegedly illegal mining activities of Reddy and others were exposed, had earlier said that the ED and I-T department must take cognizance and find the source of funds for the wedding extravaganza. “I hope agencies will hold him accountable for the spending at least now,” Justice Hegde said.
A mining rival, Tapal Ganesh, who was involved in a long feud with Reddy, had threatened to write to the Chief Justice of India over the spending by a man whose wealth was confiscated.
Karnataka’s Health Minister Ramesh Kumar has questioned the need for lavish spending on the wedding and said that he will not attend it. “If you have wealth, keep it. Why are you displaying it in public by spending lavishly?” he remarked.
In the state capital, the furore notwithstanding, preparations for the four-day extravaganza are on in full steam, even as Bangalore Palace has been turned into a private fortress, with bouncers keeping the media at bay. A replica of the Vijayanagar kingdom spread over several acres has been created on the Palace Grounds, and movie stars from Bollywood and the Telugu film world are expected to perform.