Chennai December 22 (The Hindu): 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 INR 3 million cash in new currency and 5 kg of gold.
Besides, they unearthed “undisclosed income” to the tune of Rs. 50 million from the house of Rao’s son, Vivek Papisetty, in Thiruvanmiyur near Chennai.
The raids began early in the morning at Rao’s two-storied bungalow in Anna Nagar 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 Rao’s links to Reddy. On December 8, the I-T department cracked a case of money laundering after scrutinizing 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, INR 970 million cash in high denomination notes and INR 90 million in new INR. 2,000 currency notes, along with gold weighing 127 kg and worth approximately INR 360 million were seized from the trio.
(The featured picture above shows Indian Central Reserve Police Force personnel lined up before the residence of Tamil Nadu’s Chief Secretary as Income Tax sleuths search for gold, documents and unaccounted cash inside)