Searches started in Bengaluru, and Erode and Chennai in Tamil Nadu on Wednesday and concluded on Friday night.
Anti-Corruption Bureau will seek details from Income Tax Department on the disproportionate assets found in the possession of the two PWD chief engineers.
A whopping Rs. 152 crore unaccounted income, including a huge stash of new notes, bullion, jewellery, and documents pertaining to property ownership, have been seized on the premises of two chief engineers of the PWD and contractors, by the I-T officials over the last three days.
Home Minister G. Parameshwara announced, on the Floor of the Council, suspension of the two chief engineers S.C. Jayachandra, Chief Project Officer of the State Highway Development Project, and T.N. Chikkarayappa, Managing Director of Cauvery Neeravari Nigam Ltd. Prime Minister Narendra Modi called I-T sleuths in Bengaluru and congratulated them for the successful seizure operation.
Searches started in Bengaluru, and Erode and Chennai in Tamil Nadu on Wednesday and concluded on Friday night. A total of 18 locations in Bengaluru are under the I-T scanner. “The unaccounted income is expected to go up further. We will get a rough estimate on the extent of income and properties by Monday,” sources said.
ACB to seek details of disproportionate assets
The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) will seek details from Income Tax Department on the disproportionate assets found in the possession of Public Works Department chief engineers S.C. Jayachandra and T.N. Chikkarayappa.
ACB Inspector General of Police M.A. Saleem told The Hindu that they are keen to pursue cases against the two officials on the basis of information about unaccounted income coming from I-Tax department since the money recovered from their premises could be more than their known sources of income.
Incidentally, Mr. Jayachandra had run into trouble when Lokayukta sleuths had searched his premises in 2008 on the charge of disproportionate income. The government is yet to give permission for prosecution.
Gold and cash seizures go up
Meanwhile, the search of premises of the two officials, contractor Ramalingam, Sibi Chakravarthy of Kannan Borewells and banker Umashankar continued for the third day on Friday. The amount of unaccounted cash and gold has gone up. The I-T search, which officials say was in the offing for some time, comes when the State government has finalised tenders for execution of road works worth about Rs. 3,500 crore under the State Highway Development Project (SHDP).
Of the over Rs. 6 crore currency seized, the department said that nearly Rs. 5.7 crore was in new Rs. 2,000 currency. About Rs. 90 lakh is in the demonetised Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 currency. Sleuths have seized about seven kilos of bullion, suspected to have been purchased after demonetisation of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 currency, nearly nine kilos of gold jewellery – together worth about Rs. 5 crore, an I-T department note said. Several high-end cars too have been seized.
Rs. 71 lakh in new currency seized
Three persons were caught carrying new Rs. 2,000 notes amounting to Rs. 71 lakh at Bailoor village near Karkala on Thursday evening. The police handed them over to Income Tax officials in Mangaluru.
Karkala Circle Inspector Joy Anthony told The Hindu on Friday that the police were checking vehicles at Bailoor on Thursday evening. Around 7 p.m., they stopped a car going from Mangaluru towards Kudremukh. Inside, they found currency of Rs. 2,000 denomination totalling Rs. 71 lakh in a plastic bag. The occupants of the car — Imran Hussain, Asif Umar and Deepak Shetty — failed to give a proper explanation for the huge amount of cash. All three are from Mangaluru and are aged between 35 and 40 years.
The police did the ‘panchanama’ but did not register a case, Mr. Anthony said.
Sources in the Income Tax Department said that the youth were part of a money exchange network that has been operating in the coastal towns since November 8. The network operated in two layers, the official explained, adding that while the big operator took a 25 per cent cut from those wishing to convert their demonetised currency to new ones, he would sub-contract the work of getting legal currency to his associates. “The big operators pay Rs. 2,000 for every Rs. 24,000 being withdrawn in legal tender,” the official said.
New notes seized in Chikkamagaluru
Chikkamagaluru Police on Friday seized Rs. 46 lakh in currency notes of Rs.2,000 denomination from two people in Jayanagar town. The police have taken the duo Kiran and Kumar into custody.
The duo were transporting the cash in a car. They had no explanation for the cash. The police have seized the car. It is said that the car belongs to a businessman in Hassan.
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