Income tax investigators seized a further Rs 24 crore in new notes and 50 kg of gold from businessman Sekhar Reddy in Vellore on Saturday, bringing the total amount of unaccounted assets confiscated through raids in Tamil Nadu over the last two days to Rs 166 crore.
This is the income tax department’s biggest black money haul since the central government, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, scrapped high value currency notes on November 8.
According to police, they recovered the money and gold from a parked car in Vellore after extracting information from three men who had been arrested in Chennai two days ago.
“The raided premises belong to Reddy, his associate and family member Srinivasalu Reddy, and their agents – including a man named Prem,” an income tax official said, adding that four of the eight premises raided over the last two days are yet to be completely searched.
Reddy’s firm JSR Infra Developers Pvt Ltd counts the state highways department and the public works department among its clients. A native of Thondanthulasi near Katpadi, he was a member of the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam Trust Board. Reddy was removed from the board after his arrest was made public.
The industrialist also has a sand mining licence that allows him to operate across Tamil Nadu.
Three men were arrested on Friday, after investigators seized Rs 90 crore in old high-denomination notes and Rs 9.63 crore in new Rs 2,000 notes. They also confiscated 127 kg of gold from Reddy’s properties in Chennai.
Meanwhile, across the state border, income tax investigators struck gold – quite literally – when they recovered 32 kg of the precious metal in the form of biscuits and jewellery, Rs 5.7 crore in new currency notes and Rs 90 lakh in old ones from the residence of a hawala dealer at Challakere in neighbouring Karnataka.
The accused, who is yet to be identified, had stashed the loot in a stainless steel safe cleverly concealed behind the tiled walls of his bathroom. Hundreds of mothballs were liberally scattered on the money to prevent termites from getting to them.
The assets were recovered as part of the crackdown on casino owners and bullion traders in Hubballi and Chitradurga districts.
(With PTI inputs)