Tamil Nadu: IT Dept Seizes Rs 170 Crores Cash And 105 Kg Gold From Politically Linked Road Construction Firm
After conducting simultaneous raids in at least 30 different locations in Tamil Nadu, the Income Tax (IT) Department has seized Rs 170 crores of unaccounted cash and over 105 kgs of gold on July 16. Reportedly, a series of flash raids were carried out at multiple premises of a Tamil Nadu based highways and road construction company named SPK Group & Co. A team of 200 IT sleuths were engaged in conducting raids.
Conducting the Tamil Nadu IT raid
According to media reports, the Chennai investigation wing of the department conducted the investigation. Additionally, the IT department officials had also taken along bankers to account for the huge amount of cash. Reportedly, the cash was retrieved from large travel bags and parked cars.
News 18 reported that sources in the IT department have revealed that the money was being illegally transferred out of the contract payments from the Tamil Nadu government by issuing fake receipts against expenditure. Additionally, MD of SPK group, Seyyadurai has also admitted that the cash was being generated by inflating his sub-contract expenses and labour payments
Seyyadurai is a highways constructor and a director in Sri Balaji Tollways, a company which won the road contract in Madurai in 2018. In addition to this, the daily reports, he owns other business interests in hospitality and construction under the SPK Group.
What makes this case go beyond the raids by IT sleuths is the fact that Tamil Nadu’s leading opposition party, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) in June 2018 had lodged a complaint with the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption alleging corrupt practices in the allocation of five highway projects to firms owned by relatives and friends of Chief Minister E Palaniswami. He is not only the present chief minister but was also the Minister for Public Works, Highways and Minor Ports until he became the CM in early 2017. He continues to retain that portfolio.
However, the IT department has said that these raids were not political in nature.
Reportedly, DMK has argued that Nagarajan Seyyadurai, the managing director of SPK has close ties with AIADMK bigwigs (the ruling party), including the CM. Moreover, The News Minute reported that in its complaint to the directorate, the DMK cited a Rs 200 crore project that was reportedly undertaken by Seyyadurai’s firm SPK group.
Moreover, the father-in-law of the son of the current Chief Minister, Subramaniam Palanisamy is a director or shareholder in at least two companies that also involve Nagarajan Seyyadurai.