Reddys' rise: Riding cycles to rattling BJP
From struggling businessmen who could once afford only bicycles to
now owning choppers and almost bringing down Karnataka's chief
minister, the Reddy brothers have had a meteoric rise in both
riches and political clout.
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
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
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
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, 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
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.