The Central Bureau of Investigation has found no evidence to prosecute industrialist and Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) member J. Sekar alias Sekar Reddy and five others in the sensational cash seizure case of 2016.
Almost four years after registering the case, the agency filed a closure report in the trial court, stating that “nothing incriminating surfaced” against the accused persons.
The case relates to the seizure of ₹33.89 crore in the then newly printed ₹2,000 denomination currency from the business premises of Mr. Reddy and his partners in SRS Mining Company by Income Tax officials in December 2016. The CBI’s Anti-Corruption Branch registered three separate First Information Reports relating to the seizure against the trio. While the Madras High Court quashed two FIRs, the third has now been closed for want of evidence.
The CBI had said in the FIR that the Reserve Bank of India sent huge quantities of new ₹2,000 denomination currency across the country to be distributed in lieu of the demonetised ₹500 and ₹1,000 notes.
It alleged that Mr. Sekar Reddy and his business partners, with the help of unknown public servants of different banks, converted the unauthorised cash held by them in old currency notes, thereby depriving the public in enforcing their right.
The CBI also accused officials in different banks of colluding with the accused persons for a consideration.
However, after examining hundreds of persons, including bank officials, and perusing volumes of documents, the CBI found no evidence on record to launch a prosecutable case against the accused persons beyond reasonable doubt to establish that they fraudulently converted the unauthorised cash held by them in old currency notes.
S. Jawahar, XIth additional special judge for CBI cases, allowed the CBI’s plea, seeking closure of the case due to lack of sufficient evidence.
“As per the oral and documentary evidence, the allegations in the FIR to the effect that the accused persons have caused wrongful loss to the Government of India to the tune of approximately ₹247.13 crore and obtaining corresponding wrongful gain to themselves is not substantiated with prosecutable evidence. Hence, the final report has been filed for recommending closure of the case,” the agency said in its final investigation report.
Mr. Reddy, who was on the Board of Trustees, TTD, was removed by the Andhra Pradesh government from the post soon after the CBI raids in December 2016. However, he was nominated again as TTD Board member and also president of Local Advisory Committee, Tamil Nadu, in September 2019.