Cash, jewellery, ‘incriminating documents' seized

The Lokayukta Police conducted simultaneous surprise checks on five properties connected to Congress MLA M. Krishnappa and his son and MLA Priya Krishna early on Thursday and impounded valuables such as cash and jewellery as well as “incriminating documents”.

The surprise checks were part of an ongoing investigation ordered by the Lokayukta court on January 16 into the assets of the realtor-turned-politician and his son. In a private complaint filed before the Lokayukta Court, city-based advocate Prakash H.C. had alleged that there are discrepancies to the tune of Rs. 700 crore in the assets declared by the father and son.

During the 12-hour operation which started at 7 a.m., the Lokayukta Police searched three houses and two business establishments connected to Mr. Krishnappa.

The precedence in such high-profile, court-referred cases has been that the Lokayukta Police conduct raids within a few days of the referral. Explaining why this operation was conducted a full month after the court referred the case for investigation, one of the Lokayukta Police officials said that it was “part of the strategy”.

The officer, who wished anonymity, said, “In the days following the referral, the accused would have been on their guard. We would have lost the surprise element. This has been done a few times in the past.”

At his palatial residence near the bus-stop in Vijayanagar, they recovered Rs. 7.11 lakh in cash, eight kg of silver, one kg of gold ornaments, 20 layout plan maps, and documents relating to various other properties.

At the Vijayanagar residence of Ashok Gowda, a close business associate of the MLA, a large cache of documents relating to dealings between the two were seized in addition to ornaments and automobiles.

At the office of Sri Lakshmi Narasimha (SLN) Enterprises off Palace Road, which is owned by the MLA and his son, documents relating to their bank transactions as well as properties were seized. The raid at another office of SLN Enterprises, which is also on Palace Road, yielded more documents, said a release.

Lokayukta sources said that a fifth property, a house in Attiguppe, belonging to an associate of Mr. Krishnappa was also raided but the search yielded nothing of importance. The highlights of the complaint are that Mr. Krishnappa availed himself of loans of Rs. 800 crore by fabricating documents and did not disclose properties in the name of SLN Group of Companies. Mr. Krishnappa, a former police constable, entered the real-estate business in the mid-1970s and soon earned the epithet ‘Layout' Krishnappa. He was an MLC from 2000-06 and later became the MLA of Vijayanagar constituency in 2008.