Updated: October 13, 2021 9:19:30 pm
The five-day search operations conducted by the Income Tax (I-T) department in Karnataka and three other states have resulted in the detection of undisclosed income amounting to Rs 750 crore. The raids were carried out in 47 locations, including at the house of a close aide of former Karnataka chief minister BS Yediyurappa.
According to the I-T department, search and seizure operations were carried out against three major Bangalore-based contractors engaged in the execution of irrigation and highway projects. The searches began on 7 October and were conducted by more than 300 officials.
The I-T department said, “These three groups were involved in the suppression of their income by resorting to bogus purchases; inflation of labour expenses; booking of bogus sub-contract expenses and so on. The investigation has revealed that one of the groups booked bogus sub-contract expenses in the name of about 40 individuals with no connection to the construction business. Upon enquiry, these individuals have admitted to the said manipulation.”
One of the groups admitted to having indulged in inflation of labour expenses amounting to Rs.382 crore. Further, another group has been found to have taken accommodation entries from non-existing paper companies to the extent of Rs 105 crore. Various incriminating evidence in the form of physical documents and digital records, among others, have been seized. During the operation, unaccounted cash of Rs 4.69 crore; unaccounted jewellery and bullion valued at Rs 8.67 crore; and silver articles valued at Rs 29.83 lakh have been seized. The search and seizure actions against these three groups have resulted in detection of undisclosed income of about Rs 750 crore. Of this, Rs 487 crore has been admitted by the said groups as their undisclosed income, the I-T department said.
An official at the IT department said that searches were conducted at Yediyurappa’s aide Umesh’s properties as well, but he did not divulge any further information.
Umesh, a driver-cum-conductor at the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC), managed to become the personal assistant of Shivamogga BJP MLC Ayanur Manjunath. Later, he joined Shivamogga MP BY Raghavendra, son of Yediyurappa. During Yediyurappa’s regime, Umesh served as personal secretary at the CM’s office and was reportedly close to his other son, BY Vijayendra.
A day after the raids, BMTC withdrew Umesh’s deputation to the CM’s office. He was an officer on special duty (OSD) for Yediyurappa and continued to remain in the CM’s office after Basavaraj Bommai took over as chief minister. Umesh, who is posted as driver in Puttenahalli depot, will no longer work in the CM’s office, a BMTC officer said.
Following the raids, opposition leaders and some BJP leaders took a dig at Yediyurappa. JD(S) leader HD Kumaraswamy said that the raid was the outcome of internal fighting within the BJP.
BJP MLC AH Vishwanath, who joined the saffron party in 2019 after quitting JD(S), alleged that Yediyurappa had to step down following a tender allotment scam involving Vijayendra and Umesh. Vishwanath has not been on good terms with Yediyurappa after he was denied a cabinet berth during the latter’s chief ministership.
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