Hyderabad, June 2: CBI teams today raided several places across Andhra Pradesh in its continuing probe to unearth the characters behind the cash-for-bail scam in which an additional special judge T Pattabhirama Rao was suspended for accepting Rs 3 crore bribe for giving bail to mining baron Gali Janardhana Reddy.
CBI sleuths raided the residence of Yadagiri Rao, a history-sheeter at HMT Nagar in Nacharam in Hyderabad. He reportedly played the mediator between the judge and the arrested mining baron.
A printing press in Gudivada and the residence of former judicial officer Chalapathi Rao in Chilakaluripeta of Guntur district were also searched by CBI sleuths today.
Meanwhile, the judge T. Pattabhirama Rao and his son are likely to be arrested in the cash-for-bail scam.
The judge was suspended by the AP High Court collegium of judges headed by Chief Justice Madan B. Lokur on Thursday after the CBI unearthed cash of about Rs. 2.87 crore from the lockers of a bank in Hyderabad.
Rao has been asked not to leave Hyderabad city till completion of the probe against him.
The CBI, which has taken up a parallel inquiry is likely to register an FIR against him, his son and five others to prosecute them with the permission of the High Court.
Sources said the judge Rao had demanded Rs.15 crore for the grant of bail to mining baron Janardhan Reddy in the OMC case .
The relatives and followers of Janardhan Reddy initially bargained with Rao for payment of Rs.5 crore but a deal was finally struck for Rs.10 crore.
An advance of Rs.3 crore was delivered to the judge before the judgment was delivered on May 11 and the balance was to be paid later.
A portion of the amount was said to have been recovered by the CBI from two lockers of a bank in the name of his son at Ashok Nagar here.
It was said that a Minister from Rayalaseema region, who is a relative of Janardhan Reddy and a retired district judge from Guntur, played a key role in the mediation with the suspended judge.
The retired judicial officer and a rowdy-sheeter of Nacharam here, Yadagiri, were part of the team that approached the judge. Both were said to have been questioned by the CBI sleuths four days ago after they got wind of the scam.
Pattabhirama Rao had granted bail to Janardhan Reddy when the case was transferred to him as the Principal Court presided by A. Pullaiah was closed for summer vacation.
The bail was given on May 11 on furnishing a personal bond for Rs.5 lakh and two sureties of similar sum, though a similar request of Y. Srilakshmi, IAS officer suspended in the illegal mining case, was rejected.
Incidentally,. Janardhan Reddy's brother and Bellary MLA G. Somasekhara Reddy and his followers were present in the court hall from morning till 5 p.m. on the day when the bail was granted.
But the bonds could be furnished only on the next working day, May 14, the last working day for judge Pattabhirama Rao.
What raised the suspicion of the CBI authorities was that the MLA came to the court carrying a huge amount of cash on May 11.
Meanwhile, Andhra Pradesh Law Minister Erasu Pratap Reddy has denied any involvement in the cash-for-bail scam. reddy tried to meet the chief minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy today, but the chief minister had already left for campaigning in the byelections.