Income tax personnel on Saturday said they seized Rs 24 crore in new Rs 2,000 notes from a car in Vellore, Tamil Nadu, after the interrogation of mining baron Sekhar Reddy, PTI reported. Reddy along with two other businessmen, Srinivasa Reddy and Prem, had been arrested and their properties raided on Thursday. The searches at eight premises owned by the three entrepreneurs yielded cash and gold amounting to Rs 142 crore, NDTV reported.
The Central Board of Direct Taxes had issued a statement about the searches that said, “The group has a sand mining licence for the entire state of Tamil Nadu. During the searches, Rs 96.89 crore cash in old high denomination notes and Rs 9.63 crore in new Rs 2,000 currency notes along with gold weighing 127 kg worth approximately Rs 36.29 crore were found and seized as unaccounted assets.” The raids are still underway.
Sekar Reddy is also a member of the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam Trust. He had reportedly visited Apollo Hospital to offer the temple’s prasad to deceased Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa on October 12, when she was undergoing treatment. He was removed from the board after his arrest.
Photographs of Sekar Reddy with newly-appointed Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam have also surfaced, triggering rumours about the accused’s connection to the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam party. Party officials have denied the links.
In another raid, income tax officials confiscated Rs 5.7 crore in new notes, Rs 90 lakh in old currency and 32 kg in bullion from a hawala (illegal money) dealer’s “secret bathroom chamber” in Karnataka, The Indian Express reported. Taxpayers have reportedly declared Rs 2,000 crore in undisclosed wealth so far. The department reported investigations into more than 400 cases since the demonetisation drive was launched on November 8. Over 30 cases were referred to the Enforcement Directorate and the Central Bureau of Investigation for further investigation.
The central government had demonetised Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes on November 8. While making the announcement, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said that the step was taken to fight black money, corruption and the circulation of counterfeit currency in the country.