The Karnataka Police on Wednesday said Ballari-based mining baron and former Bharatiya Janata Party minister Gali Janardhan Reddy is absconding, PTI reported.

The Bengaluru Police are looking for Reddy in connection with a bribery case, NDTV quoted police officials as saying. The owner of a firm called Ambident Group has accused Reddy of demanding Rs 18 crore to bail him out of a case. Reddy was a minister in the BS Yeddyurappa government at the time. The money was allegedly converted to gold and handed over to Reddy’s close aide Ali Khan.

The Ambident Group has been accused of duping hundreds of investors and is facing a Rs 600-crore fraud case.

Both Reddy and Ali Khan are absconding and the police are looking for them, Bengaluru Commissioner of Police T Suneel Kumar told reporters. An investigation into the case is under way, he added.

The development comes a day after Reddy’s confidante J Shantha – former BJP minister B Sriramulu’s sister – lost the Ballari bye-election. The Congress won the seat, which had previously been the BJP’s bastion. However, Additional Commissioner of Police (Crime) Alok Kumar told PTI there was no connection between the Congress’ victory and the inquiry.

Sriramulu claimed he has no information about Reddy’s whereabouts or the case against him. “Law will take its course,” he said.