Srilakshmi’s arrest sends shivers across IAS

Sucked into vortex of corruption

IAS officer Yerra Srilakhshmi’s arrest today by CBI in connection with illegal mining case against Gali Janardhan Reddy has sent shivers across the babudom in the state.

The 1988-cadre officer played a key role during YSR’s first term as his Secretary for Industries Department when most of the controversial GOs were issued allegedly in favour of Obulapuram Mining Company of Gali brothers.

Srilakshmi, once considered one of the most powerful bureaucrats in the state, was arrested in her office for her alleged role in the illegal mining case and for favouring OMC.

Presently Commissioner of Family Welfare, Srilakshmi was questioned by the CBI officials twice earlier in connection with the case.

Srilakshmi is one of the accused in the case along with OMC owner and former Karnataka Minister Gali Janardhana Reddy and company’s Managing Director B V Srinivas Reddy, both of whom are in jail, and then Mines Director V D Rajagopal, presently in police custody.

Srilakshmi has been on leave since the CBI started questioning officials involved in the case, starting with Rajgopal. The latter apparently told the investigating officers that he had taken decisions in accordance with the instructions of the then secretary Srilakshmi.

She along with her husband and serving IPS officer Gopikrishna, presently IGP, CID, visited temples in Srikakulam district after the CBI questioning, but the gods apparently did not listen to her prayers.

Srilakshmi is the first serving IAS rank official to be arrested in the ongoing investigation into OMC. There were rumours earlier that she had approached a top leader from her community who recently joined Congress to bail out her in the case.

“I joined the service at the age of 22 and I would have gone to the highest levels in the administrative service, but it is all over now,’’ Srilakshmi reportedly told her CBI interrogators.

With the arrest of Srilakshmi, the IAS fraternity is literally trembling with fear. Another serving IAS officer MVGK Bhanu, son-in-law of former Congress MP Rangaiah Naidu and retired IAS officer Prabhakar Reddy were also questioned by CBI in the case.

Another senior IAS officer B P Acharya is already accused number one in Emaar case. The investigation into Emaar is still going on with Koneru Prasad and Ranga Rao of Stylish Homes already taken into custody.