Income-tax sleuths conducted raids on sand miners and leading contractors, including Srinivas Reddy, Shekhar Reddy and their agent Prem, and recovered a sum of Rs 90 crore in cash and 100 kg in gold during searches at eight premises.
Shekhar Reddy is said to be connected to several bigwigs.
Sources said that Rs 70 crore of the total Rs 90 crore was in new Rs 2,000 currency notes, which are difficult to come by after demonetisation. The rest of the money, Rs 20 crore, was in the demonetised old currencies.
Sources said that Shekhar Reddy was being grilled by the sleuths. A large amount of cash was seized from his premises in T Nagar. Shekhar Reddy is said to have facilitated the darshan of the then interim chief minister O Panneerselvam at the Balaji Temple in Tirupati after J Jayalalithaa was freed from the Karnataka prison last year.
In another operation, the I-T department recovered 100 gold bars of one kilo each and over Rs 73 crore of cash in Chennai. A cash amount of Rs 8 crore that was unearthed was in new currency notes and the remaining Rs 65 crore in old high currency. A senior official of the tax department told HT that another Rs 10 crore was found in the evening. “The counting for this is still on, the search is continuing and valuation is on...this is the biggest search operation since the demonetisation drive was kicked off,” the official said.
Another investigation into cash deposits in a bank account in Nagpur revealed that the account holder had no knowledge of its existence where Rs 3.29 crore had been deposited after November 8. Enquiries by the department revealed six more such accounts in her and parents’ names. All seven accounts were opened to launder money, the finance ministry said.
(With inputs from Mahua Venkatesh in New Delhi)