Following raids on a moneylender linked to the illegal mining mafia in the Bellary district, local authorities have seized unaccounted cash amounting to Rs 8.74 crore, suspected to be meant for election usage, as well as saving certificates valued at over Rs 34 crore.
Raids and searches conducted on the moneylender Babulal Parasuram since Friday have revealed that more than one political party may have been using the moneylender, Deputy Commissioner of Bellary Amlan Aditya Biswas said.
The district and election commission authorities have called in the Income Tax department and the Enforcement Directorate to investigate the possession of the large amount of liquid and semi-liquid funds by the moneylender who was earlier involved in the iron ore transportation business.
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The semi-liquid funds we-re locked into savings certificates like Kisan Vikas Patra. The local authorities have called in the IT and ED to probe the case since the funds could be related to the CBI’s investigation into the Bellary illegal mining mafia that ruled the roost in the region between 2009 and 2011.
Sources said that preliminary investigations had revealed that the amount discovered in Parasuram’s possession did not tally with his Income Tax declarations and payments. The investigations had also revealed that the cash was meant for election related usage but it was still not clear whether the semi-liquid funds held in Parasuram’s name were also meant for elections.
“The money could have been for many parties but we have found links to one political party. Parasuram was a classical money lender but could not explain the presence of such large amounts in his house. The amounts were withdrawn gradually in small numbers over the past couple of months and kept in the house,” the Bellary DC said.
Investigators were yet to look closely at the over 100 bank accounts from where the funds travelled into the money lender’s hands, sources said.
The cash was found stashed in rice and dal containers apart from cupboards. The savings certificates amounting to Rs 34 crore were held in the name of Parasuram and members of his family, sources said.
Authorities in Bellary have been keeping a tight vigil on the movement of cash for illegal usage in the elections. Authorities have set up multiple closed circuit cameras around the city, especially around the residences of the BJP candidate B Sreeramulu and associates who have been incarcerated by the CBI in the illegal mining racket in Bellary. The raids on Parasuram were however based on a tip off.
Over Rs 20,000 crore is suspected to have been earned by the illegal mining mafia spread across the political spectrum in Bellary but dominated by the Reddy brothers from the BJP during 2009-11. Only a small fraction of the money earned through illegal mining has been traced by authorities so far.