In simultaneous searches, unprecedented in their scale and nature, the Income Tax Department on Wednesday went through the residential and office premises of Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary P. Rama Mohana Rao in Chennai, Bengaluru and Andhra Pradesh, and seized Rs. 30 lakh cash in new currency and 5 kg of gold. Besides, they unearthed “undisclosed income” to the tune of Rs. 5 crore from the house of Mr. Rao’s son, Vivek Papisetty, in Thiruvanmiyur here.
The raids began early in the morning at Mr. Rao’s two-storied bungalow in Anna Nagar here and extended to 10 other places, including his office in the State Secretariat. Considering that the State police were under the Chief Secretary’s command, the I-T officers, in the afternoon, requisitioned deployment of armed personnel from the Central Reserve Police Force to provide security. Nearly 100 senior officials of the I-T department were involved in the operations.
I-T department sources said the searches were carried out based on evidence gathered during the recent raids at the business and private premises of J. Sekhar Reddy, an expelled member of the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam Board-cum-government contractor and his two associates. Reddy, a big-time sand mining contractor, was on Wednesday arrested by the CBI, which registered cases with regard to money laundering and under the Prevention of Corruption Act and the Indian Penal Code and remanded in judicial custody.
A senior official in the Income Tax Investigations Wing in Chennai told The Hindu that more people would come under their scanner. According to the taxmen, the searches were conducted in connection with Mr. Rao’s links to Reddy. On December 8, the I-T department cracked a case of money laundering after scrutinising the premises of Reddy, sand miner K. Sreenivasulu and their associate Prem Kumar. Reddy runs a firm JSR Infra Developers Private Limited.
The I-T department said that during the searches, Rs. 96.89 crore cash in withdrawn high denomination notes and Rs. 9.63 crore in new Rs. 2,000 currency notes, along with gold weighing 127 kg and worth approximately Rs. 36.29 crore, were seized from the trio.
( With inputs fromS. Murali in Ongole )