Third Person Indicted in Landlord Sex Case





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A federal grand jury indicted a third person last week in connection with the case of Berkeley landlord Lakireddy Bali Reddy, who allegedly brought several Indian girls into the United States for sex.

Venkateswara Vemireddy was indicted Thursday on two counts of helping to smuggle immigrants into the United States from India and one count of conspiring with Reddy and his son, Vijay Kumar Lakireddy, to illegally bring two girls into the United States using false visa applications.

Authorities have alleged that Vemireddy and his sister pretended to be the parents of Chanti Prattipati, the girl who died from carbon monoxide poisoning in November at a Bancroft Way apartment owned by Reddy.

According to court documents, Lakireddy tried to bring Vemireddy into the country to work at his Active Tech Solutions software company, but Vemireddy instead ended up working at Reddy's Pasand Madras Cuisine restaurant. Authorities allege that Vemireddy helped smuggle Prattipati and her sister into the country.

Earlier in the week, the U.S. Attorney's office filed documents responding to the defense's motion that charges against Reddy and Lakireddy were not clearly defined and that some aliens they are charged with illegally bringing into the country are not identified.

"Analyzed under the controlling authority, the (indictment) in the present case meets all the requirements for specificity," Assistant U.S. Attorney John Kennedy said in documents filed in federal court. "Each count describes the elements of the offenses, the persons who committed them, and the dates on which the defendants committed the offenses."

The prosecution also addressed complaints by the defense against Berkeley City Attorney Manuela Albuquerque. In a previous motion, the defense argued that Albuquerque misled the court by testifying that Reddy failed to call police the night of Prattipati's death when a 911 call had in fact been made from Prattipati's apartment.

"All the information (Albuquerque) provided to the court with the exception of information related to Mr. Reddy's property holdings was based upon information which was provided to the city attorney by me," said Berkeley police Sgt. Garen Nielsen in statements submitted to the court.

Based on Nielsen's testimony, the U.S. Attorney's office said that Albuquerque acted in "good faith."

"The Berkeley Police Department realized that there had been a 911 call from inside the apartment only after the government asked for records relating to the motorist's 911 call," Kennedy said. "The defendant has no basis for claiming that Ms. Albuquerque intentionally or recklessly misled the Magistrate Judge."

The prosecution has requested voice samples from Reddy to determine if he placed the 911 call.

Kennedy also said that sanctions against Albuquerque, as requested by the defense, would be "inappropriate and irresponsible."

The defense now has until Tuesday to file a response to the prosecution's rebuttal.

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