Sekhar Reddy, the miner-contractor and the crores I-T seized

The official added, however, “We did not find anything from the house where he lived.” Reddy’s properties in Vellore were sealed Tuesday.

Written by Arun Janardhanan | Chennai | Updated: December 22, 2016 8:35 pm
Tamil Nadu chief secretary Rama Mohan Rao, Sekhar Reddy, Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, J Jayalalithaa, indian express news I-T officials count cash seized from Reddy’s apartment; gold haul; Reddy (far right in frame) next to CM O Panneerselvam at Tirupati temple.

The day income-tax authorities searched the homes and official chamber of Tamil Nadu chief secretary Rama Mohan Rao, the CBI arrested a contractor-sand miner who has been at the centre of the I-T crackdown so far. Sekhar Reddy, 49, has seen 14 of his premises raided since December 8. I-T officials claimed they have seized Rs 132 crore in currency notes including Rs 34 crore in Rs 2,000s, as well as 177 kg gold including 80 kg seized from a suite in a Chennai five-star hotel. “They had booked two such rooms for a long period. The bills, mostly in tranches of Rs 10 lakh, were paid by a firm owned by Reddy,” said an I-T officer.

It was to probe the sources of the currency that the CBI had stepped in, arresting Reddy and two of his associates Wednesday.  Reddy’s high connections were in public focus even before the raids began, with vernacular media widely reporting his alleged wealth havens and transactions. Around the time the late J Jayalalithaa was released from Bangalore prison, a photo that went viral showed Reddy with present Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, who had also stood in for Jayalalithaa during that period. Side by side, Reddy and OPS stood in front of the Tirupati temple. Reddy, part of the managing body Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams, has since been removed. Reddy’s possible links to the chief secretary too are being probed.

sekhar-reddy-759 Reddy’s apartment; gold haul

Owner of an estimated dozen sand quarry business in Vellore, Reddy began as a civil contractor who went on to handle many big-ticket infrastructure and road projects. Government sources cited the examples of the widening of Madurai Ring Road, East Coast Road in Chennai and some World Bank-funded projects.

Reddy, known to be religious, is married with a daughter. Asked about the seizures and his alleged links with the chief secretary and politicians, Reddy’s counsel B Praveen said these were only allegations. “The truth will come out during the trial. He is a very humble and polite person. He is doing credible contract jobs and sand business.”
A CBI officer, on the other hand, said, “It was not just a currency exchange racket. We are probing various angles based on information that the three arrested [Reddy, Prem Kumar and K Srinivasulu] were hoarding crores for prominent persons.”

According to the CBI’s FIR as quoted by PTI, “Reddy and his associates had, with the help of unknown public servants of different banks, converted the unauthorised cash held by them in old currency notes, thereby depriving the public in enforcing their right.”

The CBI official said they suspect these exchanges happened in the first one week of demonetisation. “Either they knew about demonetisation or they sourced new bills from multiple banks using their influence.”

Reddy (far right in frame) next to CM O Panneerselvam at Tirupati temple. Reddy (far right in frame) next to CM O Panneerselvam at Tirupati temple.

From a guarded, three-bedroom apartment rented by Reddy near Andhra Club in T Nagar, I-T officials claimed to have seized Rs 88 crore including Rs 3 crore in new currency. “The bundles were kept in cartons —Rs 1 crore in each, give or take Rs 1,000 or so. These cartons were identical on all the premises,” said the officer. The T Nagar apartment also had four currency counting machines, which came in handy for the raid team.

What was more “dramatic”, according to the official, was the seizure of Rs 24 crore from Vellore. “They had moved the currency bundles into a Tata Ace van before we reached there. The van carrying vegetables along with the currency shuttled around Vellore for four hours in the night. We seized it at midnight after they parked it near a building owned by a friend of Reddy,” the official said.

“We had to force officials of a nationalised bank to open the branch at midnight to deposit the Rs 24 crore. As the new notes had different serial numbers, we suspect more than one bank had helped them.”

The official added, however, “We did not find anything from the house where he lived.” Reddy’s properties in Vellore were sealed Tuesday. The I-T official said Reddy had been under watch for a long time. “Otherwise he is seemingly a humble family man, a believer who takes his family out for shopping and to temples. But being well connected may have

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  1. S
    Sri
    Dec 22, 2016 at 12:39 pm
    Jail sentence.
    Reply
    1. N
      Nbalu two
      Dec 22, 2016 at 10:24 am
      Reddy,naidu,r..m.rao,their kith and kin .now you are showing the photo of pannier with tonsured head.what secrets you are having store,Gopala.are you secretly trying for merger or alliance with bjp?please enlighten us.
      Reply
      1. N
        Nampurath Krishna
        Dec 22, 2016 at 4:27 pm
        Eccentric Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was commenting something nasty on raid on TN Chief Secretary - what's her opinion now?? Probably Mamata Banerjee must be siding with corrupt as her own partymen were caught collecting corruption money by NARAD TV cameras!! She too need supporters when sleuths catch her men on corruption charges isn't?
        Reply
        1. K
          KGautham
          Dec 22, 2016 at 1:31 am
          Piety is a cover up for all shenanigans underlying it!lt;br/gt;TTD should be investigated but not even IT authorities hacpve the guts to do it!
          Reply
          1. K
            KR
            Dec 23, 2016 at 12:45 pm
            Reddy was not chief sec of TN?!
            Reply
            1. K
              krvasudevan
              Dec 22, 2016 at 2:05 pm
              Shocking, how the politician- bureaucrat-businessman mafia have looted the country. If some one is cracking the whip to catch these anti national elements, it should be lauded
              Reply
              1. M
                mort
                Dec 22, 2016 at 7:10 am
                Great Indian Tamasha!!! Greater Indian Fools!(Worshipping Corrupt people like Jayalalitha)
                Reply
                1. I
                  Ind
                  Dec 22, 2016 at 5:20 am
                  One person alone cannot do corruption scam in India. Reddy caste must be given reservations in Government colleges and jobs. Reddy caste has always been made a scapegoat by Indian society.
                  Reply
                  1. P
                    PARKASH CHANDRA
                    Dec 22, 2016 at 8:30 am
                    In whom should we trust? Regret
                    Reply
                    1. P
                      PARKASH CHANDRA
                      Dec 22, 2016 at 8:34 am
                      Quote: IT raids on Tamil Nadu chief secy Raos house vindictive and unethical: Mamata Banerjee". She may kindly look into the detailed comment right above. Without Prejudice.
                      Reply
                      1. P
                        Paul Harrison
                        Dec 22, 2016 at 6:58 am
                        U.S. President-elect Donald Trump called the attacks this week in Berlin and Ankara “terrible” on Wednesday and said he has been proven to be correct about his plans to impose curbs on Muslims immigrating to the United States. “What’s going on is terrible, terrible,” Trump told reporters, when asked about the truck attack that killed 12 people at a Christmas market in Berlin and the killing of Russia’s ambador to Turkey by a gunman in Ankara
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                        1. U
                          umesh
                          Dec 22, 2016 at 5:39 am
                          Is seizure of ill gotten money enough? This act is anti-national and one should get severe punishment as that of a terrorist, right? The man was not a 4th cl employee of the state government, but a person who was suppose to administer the people and the country. The entire ets of these two and their family and whosoever do unethical jobs, especially on the money front, should be attached to the govt. and the individuals should be put behind bars for the rest of their life
                          Reply
                          1. D
                            deva
                            Dec 22, 2016 at 1:25 pm
                            The truth will come out during the trial. He is a very humble and polite person. He is doing credible contract jobs and sand business.” No Indian caught red hand accepted his/her wrong doings
                            Reply
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