AMARAVATI: The Income Tax Department’s disclosure regarding seizure of ‘incriminating evidence’ suggesting unaccounted income of more than Rs.2000 crore in raids from the residence and other premises of former personal secretary of N. Chandrababu Naidu has sent shockwaves across Andhra Pradesh.
Pendyala Srinivasa Rao, who served the former Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief minister as personal secretary for over two decades is currently posted in the state’s planning department as an assistant section officer.
The search operation carried over five days since February 6 has revealed siphoning of more than Rs 2,000 crore through transactions that were layered through multiple entities. The last in the chain were small entities with turnover less than Rs 2 crore that do not need to maintenance of books of accounts and tax audits, said department official spokesperson Surabhi Ahluwalia in an official release.
He said that the search operations covering 40 premises at Hyderabad, Vijayawada, Kadapa, Delhi, Vishkahapatham and Delhi also included three prominent infrastructure groups based in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. Investigations led to busting of a major racket of cash generation through bogus sub-contractors, over-invoicing and bogus billing, she said.
The search operations revealed that infrastructure companies had sub-contracted work to several non- existent/bogus entities. Several such sub-contractors were controlled by the principal contractors with all their income tax returns filings and other compliances being done from the IP addresses of main corporate office.
Unexplained cash of Rs 85 lakh and jewellery worth Rs 71 lakh were also seized. More than 25 bank lockers have been restrained, Surabhi added.
Reacting to the IT department disclosure, AP government adviser (Public Affairs) Sajjala Ramakrishna Reddy said that, "if the IT raids unearthed Rs 2000 Crore from Chandrababu's personal secretary's house, imagine if Chandrababu was caught ... you cannot imagine how many thousands of crore of rupees can be retrieved," he scoffed.
“Isn't this enough proof that they have earned unaccounted money in such huge sums”, he asked.
The ruling YSR Congress party and chief minister Jagan Mohan Reddy have been accusing the former chief minister, his partymen and their associates of massive corruption in land deals related to the relocation of capital to Amaravati.
The party had released a video a day before Naidu joined the protest launched by farmers in the capital region against the YSR government’s decision to shiftg the capital from Amaravati, listing names of former ministers and associates of Naidu, who allegedly indulged in insider trading and purchased lands in Amaravati before Naidu had announced in 2014 that it would be the state capital.
The CID, which investigated the scam, had alleged that large tracts of land worth Rs.2000 crore were found purchased in the name of white ration card holders, people living Below Poverty Line (BPL), who earn less than Rs.5000 a month during 2014-15. The CID has sought the support of Enforcement Directorate in the investigation.
The TDP has been countering the allegations as part of political witch hunt launched by the government against the opposition (with inputs from Wire, Sakhi and India Today).