Rs 170 cr seized from highways contractor in I-T raids

Rs 170 cr seized from highways contractor in I-T raids

PTI file photo for representation.

In one of the biggest cash recoveries in recent times, Income Tax sleuths have seized Rs 170 crore in cash and gold bullion of over 105 kg during the massive raids on the premises of SPK group, leading highways contractor in Tamil Nadu.

SPK group owned by Nagarajan Seyyadurai has bagged contracts for laying of new roads and maintenance of existing roads across the state from the Highways Department, one of the portfolios held by Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami.

Bulk of the Rs 170 crore was recovered from two BMW luxurious cars owned by Seyyadurai during the two-day long searches at more than 20 premises in Chennai, Madurai and Arupukkottai that ended on Tuesday evening. Cash was also recovered from a car parked at the residence of the brother of DMK leader K N Nehru.

Opposition Leader M K Stalin demanded an explanation from Palaniswami on how all major contracts were awarded only to Seyyadurai's firms.

The raids are significant since the highways department is one of the portfolios that are being handled by Palaniswami. He had handled the portfolio even during late chief minister J Jayalalithaa's tenure.

Meanwhile, Subramani, whose daughter is married to Palaniswami's son Mithun, refuted reports that he was questioned by I-T officials regarding his links with Seyyadurai after speculation was rife in this regard. 

Income Tax officials said Seyyadurai had admitted to the undisclosed assets and the modus operandi of how he accumulated them over the years.

“The main assessee, Nagarajan Seyyadurai, has accumulated unaccounted cash of over Rs 163 crores and gold bullion of over 100 kg, which were recovered and seized from 10 places where he had parked them in safe custody. Apart from the unaccounted assets, several incriminating documents in the form of loose sheets, diaries, registers and hard disks were also seized,” the I-T department said in a press release.

Officials said though only Rs 24 lakh in cash was found in the residence of Seyyadurai, remaining cash and gold were found parked in various other places including in the two luxurious cars.

They said Seyyadurai had inflated his sub-contract expenses and labour payments with the help of accommodating sub-contractors and labour contractors. “The main sub-contractors, the chartered accountant and the jeweller who had converted the unaccounted cash into gold were also searched,” the statement said.

The raids came just a week after the department searched premises of Christy Friedgram Limited that supplies egg to mid-day meals scheme across Tamil Nadu. Significantly, the DMK, in a complaint to Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption last month, had alleged corruption in allocation of five highways project contracts to various firms owned by relatives of Palaniswami.

Rs 200-crore six-laning of the Vandalur- Walajabad road reportedly undertaken by SPK & Company Expressway is one of the projects that the DMK had listed in its petition to the DVAC.

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