The Income Tax Department on Friday stated that they had unearthed ‘malicious allotment of seats in exchange of cash’ during the search and seizure operations carried out on Thursday at multiple properties belonging to former Deputy Chief Minister Dr G Parameshwara and Congress leader RL Jalappa.
“The Income Tax Department conducted search on 9th October 2019 on a prominent business group in Karnataka which runs multiple educational institutions. During the course of the search, the modus operandi of conversion of seats which were originally to be allotted by merit through counselling by MCC maliciously into institutional quota seats through dropout system has been unearthed,” reads a press release issued by the Commissioner of Income Tax, Surabhi Ahluwalia. “Incriminating evidence has been found in the search, substantiating conversion of seats, commission payments to brokers and sale of seats in exchange for receipt of cash,” the release adds.
I-T sleuths raided the premises of the degree, engineering and medical colleges belonging to Siddhartha Group of Institutions. I-T sleuths suspect that crores of rupees were allegedly siphoned off by charging huge amounts for medical, dental and engineering seats under the management quota.
“Hawala transactions relating to movement of such cash have also been established. A total of Rs 4.22 crore of unaccounted cash has so far been found including Rs 89 lakh in the house of the main trustee,” adds the release.
The sleuths from the Income Tax Department are also carrying out search and seizure operations at the medical college in Nelamangala belonging to veteran Congress leader RL Jalappa. The officials also searched the residences of Jalappa's son Rajendra and his nephew GH Nagaraj in Karnataka's Chikkaballapura.
Sources say the I-T sleuths received a tip-off regarding alleged discrepancies in the income shown in the books of RL Jalappa Hospital, where Nagaraj is the director.
Reacting to the raids, Congress leader and former MP from Ballari, VS Ugrappa said that the raids are politically motivated. Speaking to the media in Bengaluru, Ugrappa alleged that the BJP's national leadership had in the past too ensured that Income Tax raids were conducted on the properties belonging to Congress leaders ahead of elections.
"Before the Lok Sabha elections, the Income Tax officials had raided the home of CS Puttaraju, the Melukote MLA. Raids were conducted in Hassan and Mysuru also at the homes of opposition leaders. Now the bye-elections are coming up and they are conducting raids on our leaders again. Ahead of Rajya Sabha elections, DK Shivakumar's properties were raided. We can all see the pattern and if it is not politically motivated, then what is it?" Ugrappa questioned.
Responding to the raids, the former Deputy Chief Minister of Karnataka G Parameshwara had said, "Let them conduct the raids. I have nothing to hide. If they find anything out of order, then we have to submit to the law right. Let them search."