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Monday , April 2 , 2012
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SC refuses bail to senior IAS officer in mining scam

New Delhi, Apr 2 (PTI): The Supreme Court on Monday refused to grant a senior woman IAS officer from Andhra Pradesh, Y Srilakshmi, who was allegedly involved in the Obulapuram mining scam along with Karnataka's Reddy brothers.

A bench of justices H.L. Dattu and C.K. Prasad asked Srilakshmi to approach the special CBI judge in Hyderabad who is dealing with the case, for bail.

The apex court said it was not inclined to grant her any relief at this stage as the CBI had filed its supplementary chargesheet and it would be appropriate if the officer makes a fresh bail plea before the court concerned.

Additional Solicitor General Vivek Tankha appearing for the CBI opposed Srilakshmi's bail plea, saying her presence was still necessary for the investigating agency. Senior counsel L Nageswara Rao, appearing for Srilakshmi, however, argued that the officer was willing to cooperate with the investigating agencies and that there was no threat from her to witnesses. He submitted as the investigation has been completed and the supplementary chargesheet filed, there was no need to detain her further as it would violate her right to life and liberty under Article 21 of the Constitution. The bench, however, was not convinced with the argument and asked the IAS officer to approach the CBI court afresh.

The bench had earlier sought clarification from the Additional Solicitor General who had appeared for the CBI, if the agency would file its chargesheet by March 30.

On December 2 the high court had cancelled Srilakshmi's bail, granted by a special CBI court in Hyderabad on the ground that she had the propensity to tamper with the evidence and influence the witnesses and had directed her to surrender before January 6, upon which she moved the apex court. The high court had said Srilakshmi had betrayed her official duty and did not deserve the bail, which it said the lower court had granted wrongly. The Supreme Court too had at that time refused to interfere with the order, following which she surrendered.

The CBI, in its interim report, had opposed her bail plea on the ground that she was a senior IAS officer and her husband, being an IPS officer, there was a possibility of the accused tampering with the evidence and influencing witnesses. At an earlier hearing, senior counsel L Nageswara Rao and Mukul Rohtagi had given an assurance that the woman officer was “willing to move out of the state” to avoid any apprehension of her influening the probe.

The special CBI court had granted a conditional bail to Srilakshmi, who was holding the office of Secretary, Mines, at the time of the alleged scam in 2007 and was arrested on the charge of abusing her official position to grant favours to Obulapuram Mining Company owned by former Karnataka Minister G Janardhan Reddy.