A fire broke out at mining baron Sekar Reddy’s office in Chennai’s T Nagar area on Tuesday morning. According to police officials, the cause of the fire is yet to be determined. An investigation is currently underway.
Speaking to TNM, one police officer at the site from the Pondy Bazaar station said that the fire, at the junction of Vijaya Raghava Road and North Boag Road junction in T Nagar, had been contained. “There have been no damages. The situation has been brought under control.”
The mining baron issued a statement on blaze shortly after it was reported. It says, “A small fire broke out in our commercial complex on the Vijayaraghava Road in T. Nagar at 8 am on Tuesday. Immediately on noticing smoke emanating from the third floor, security personnel alerted the fire service department. The fire believed to have been caused by an electrical short circuit was extinguished by 9 am. There was no injury to any staff or loss to property except damage to some furniture in two rooms. We are fully cooperating with the Fire service officers who are investigating the incident to assess the cause of fire and the actual extent of damage."
The fire comes even as the industrialist is under investigation by anti-graft agencies including the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate.
J Sekar Reddy, a mining baron with businesses in the state, became the poster boy for the black money crackdown after the banknote demonetisation in 2016. It was on December 9, 2016 that Income Tax officials carried out raids and seized Rs 96.89 crore cash in old high denomination notes, and over Rs 9 crore in Rs 2,000 currency, along with gold weighing over 100 kg.
It was then that the now infamous diary was unearthed that detailed the money that he was paying to various bureaucrats, ministers and leaders cutting across party lines. The contents of the diary, first published in The Week magazine by Lakshmi Subramanian, show at least five transactions naming current Tamil Nadu Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam or the name of his secretary Ramesh have been written.
Sekar was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate in 2017 on money laundering charges. This after the ED had registered a case against him under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering (PMLA).
In June 2018, the Madras High Court quashed two of the three FIRs filed against mining baron Sekar Reddy by the CBI.