IT sleuths raid premises of mine owners in Karnataka


Bangalore : The revenue intelligence wing of the Income Tax department Friday raided the premises of iron ore mining companies in Bellary district of Karnataka and recovered unaccounted cash and gold worth millions of rupees.

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A day-long search operation was carried out simultaneously in Bellary, Hospet and Sandur towns of the district, about 300 km from here, by a 100-member IT team. A senior department official later told IANS on phone that unaccounted cash amounting to Rs.6 million and gold and jewellery valued at millions of rupees were unearthed from the offices and residences of mine owners.

Incidentally, many of the mining firms, including those raided, are owned or operated by politicians belonging to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Congress and Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S).

Among them are Bellary Member of Parliament G. Karunakara Reddy, his younger brother and state legislative council member G. Janardhan Reddy, assembly legislator and former state minister B. Sriramulu (all belonging to BJP), JD-S legislator Santhosh Lad from Sandur and his cousin and BJP legislator Anil Lad.

“Prominent among the firms that were searched are Obalapuram Mining Corporation Ltd of Janaradhan Reddy and his brothers; V.S. Lad and Company at Sandur and Minerals Sales Pvt Ltd at Hospet, owned by Baldota Group,” the official said.

The raiding parties were rushed from Chennai and Bangalore offices of the IT department. They were accompanied by police forces during the search and seizure operation.

In a statement released here late Friday, the IT department said in all 50 raids were carried out simultaneously in Bellary, Hospet, Sandur and Bangalore in Karnataka; Ananthapur in Andhra Pradesh and Mumbai in Maharashtra.

Last year, Janardhan Reddy accused former chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy of taking bribes estimated at Rs 1.5 billion from owners of illegal mining firms in Bellary and sought a Central Bureau of Investigation probe.

Meanwhile, Janardhan Reddy and Sriramulu alleged that JD-S supremo H.D. Deve Gowda and his family were behind the sudden IT raids.

“We know who is behind these raids. The Gowda family wants to destroy our political career. We have nothing to hide and cooperated with the IT officials in their search. Everything we have is accounted and disclosed in our IT returns,” the duo claimed.