In what is believed to be one of the biggest recoveries in the country till date, the Income Tax department has seized Rs 163 crore cash and about 100-kg bullion, following raids at multiple premises of a road construction firm in Tamil Nadu, officials told PTI on Tuesday, 17 July.
The searches were launched on 16 July at the premises of Nagarajan Seyyadurai, the Managing Director of SPK and Co Expressway Pvt Ltd, a partnership firm engaged in roads and highways construction on contract from the government.
"About Rs 163 crore cash, which is suspected to be unaccounted, and bullion and gold jewellery weighing about 100 kg have been seized so far," a senior official of the IT department told PTI.
They added the seizure was probably the biggest so far in raid operations anywhere in the country.
The Chennai investigation wing of the IT department is conducting the operation.
Political Link Suspected
The raids were carried out after the department found "evidence of suspected tax evasion by the firm and its associates" that were believed to have political links, the senior IT official told PTI.
The News Minute report says that the raids are significant for two reasons:
- The Departure of Highways and Minor Ports is a portfolio directly overseen by Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami.
- The DMK had previously alleged that Nagarajan, the contractor was a benami of the Chief Minister.
According to TNM, DMK had lodged a complaint with the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC) alleging corruption in the allocation of five highways project contracts. One of the projects that the DMK had listed, the Rs 200-crore six-laning of the Vandalur- Walajabad road was reportedly undertaken by SPK & Company Expressway.
A total of 22 premises, including 17 in Chennai, four in Aruppukottai (Virudhunagar district) and one in Katpadi (Vellore), were being searched.
The seized cash was kept in big travel bags and parked cars, the officials told PTI, adding that a number of documents and computer hardware were also seized.
(With inputs from PTI and The News Minute.)
(This is a developing story)
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