Months after the Income Tax Department raided the properties of Nagarajan Seyyadurai, a highways contractor in Tamil Nadu, he has been served notice under the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act, 1988.
Following the raids on Seyyadurai’s SPK group, IT officials reportedly recovered Rs 163 crore in unaccounted cash and gold bullion.
The Times of India reports that the contractor has been unable to provide proof of ownership for the recovered cash and gold, and was thus issued notice by the IT Department. According to IT sources quoted by the newspaper, the officials had sufficient evidence to prove that the contractor himself is a benami of "some people."
TNM had reported in July this year that the raids had rattled the AIADMK government and Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami. The Department of Highways and Minor Ports is a portfolio directly overseen by the Chief Minister.
Equally significant is the fact that Seyyadurai’s SPK Group has won over many highway contracts in the last few years, and in March 2018, he incorporated a new company called the SPKAndCo Expressway Private Limited. His partner in this venture is none other than businessman Subramaniam Palanisamy, the father-in-law of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister’s son.
In June this year, the DMK had lodged a complaint with the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC) alleging corruption in the allocation of five highways project contracts to various firms owned by relatives of the Chief Minister.
In its complaint, the DMK alleged that government projects such as the six-laning of the Vandalur-Walajabad road, the four-laning of the Tirunelveli-Sengottai-Kollam highway on SH 39 and the maintenance of all State Highways in Ramanathapuram, Thiruvallur, Krishnagiri and Virudhunagar districts had either been awarded to SPK & Company Expressway or to Venkatachalapathy Constructions, reportedly owned by P Subramaniam (EPS’s son Mithun’s father-in-law) as well as his partner Nagarajan.
Following the raids, sources in the Income Tax department told TNM that much of the cash was recovered in travel bags from cars that had been parked in various places across the state.