In case you were wondering why a lot of ATMs and bank branches have been shut post-8/11, here’s a clue: the corrupt have started amassing wealth despite the temporary setback due to Narendra Modi’s demonetization move. On Thursday — and Day II – of income-tax raids on corrupt government officials, around Rs 5 crore in new Rs-2000 notes were recovered from the house of SC Jayachandra, chief project officer of Karnataka State Highways Development Project.
In all, the taxman found Rs 6 crore in unaccounted cash, a number of properties in the name of Jayachandra’s brother-in-law, 10 kg bullion gold (worth over Rs 3 crore) and two supercars – a Porsche and a Lamborghini – that Jayachandra “purchased” for his son Trijesh. The cash and gold were found in Trijesh’s apartment in Pebble Bay, a tony apartment complex in the upscale Raj Mahal Vilas Extension area. Jayachandra owns four apartments in Pebble Bay under benami account, I-T officials have found.
The State Highways Development Project functions under the aegis of the Public Works Department (PWD) and had recently awarded tenders for development work worth Rs 3,500 crore. I-T officials believe that the black money recovered from Jayachandra’s house could be part of the kickback. Last week, during searches conducted on contractors executing irrigation projects, I-T officials found a register with names and percentage of commission paid to bureaucrats and politicians for each bill that was raised. The commission was found to be between three and five per cent.
Apart from Jayachandra, I-T officials continued searching the premises of Jayachandra’s son Trijesh; Cauvery Neeravari Nigam managing director TN Chikkarayappa; the CEO of Kannan Borewells; a manager of Dhanalakshmi Cooperative Bank; an employee of Ramalingam Constructions and a few contractors who handle irrigation and PWD projects.
Jayachandra, a relative of PWD minister HC Mahadevappa, allegedly calls the shots in the department and has a say in transfer of officials.
A little distance from Trijesh Jayachandra’s house, I-T officials found Rs 75 lakh in new notes from Chikkarayappa’s house in Raj Mahal Vilas’s Dollar’s Colony. I-T officials began the raids on Wednesday after receiving a tip-off that corrupt officials were forcing contractors to clean their black money by using accounts of sub-contractors and labourers that they employ.
According to sources in the irrigation department, Chikkarayappa, who took over as the head of Cauvery Neeravari Nigam Limited in September 2015, was on good terms with Hyderabad-based construction company IVRCL, which has bagged contracts worth Rs 2,000+ crore for the Yettinahole drinking water scheme in the last two years. IVRCL was executing construction of the flyover in Kolkata which collapsed in March, killing 27 people.
“Chikkarayappa normally doesn’t keep money in his house barring petty cash. But this particular day, he had stacked up to Rs75 lakh and income tax department sleuths swooped down on his house. The tip-off was solid,’’ an I-T official said. The taxman found that Kannan Borewells and Ramalingam Construction had inflated expenses on labourers and sub-contractors and had withdrawn cash from their accounts.
Credits Bangalore Mirror