In what has sent shockwaves across the bureaucracy of the state of Tamil Nadu, the income tax department is conducting raids at the house of Tamil Nadu's top bureaucrat, Chief Secretary Rama Mohana Rao in Chennai.
According to media reports, the raids are ongoing at the Anna Nagar home of the senior bureaucrat as well as 13 other places belonging to him, his son and other relatives in Chennai, Bengaluru and Chittoor.
The raids started at 5:30am on Wednesday morning at 17/184, 6th street, near Ayyappan Koil, Anna Nagar, where Rao has been reportedly staying for at least 7 years.
According to reports, at least ten I-T officials came to the house at 5:15am in 4 cars and started conducting the raids. Media reports say that at least 20 officials in two teams are present in the house now.
Reports suggest that Rs 30 lakh in new currency notes and 5kgs of gold were seized from Rama Mohana Rao's residence. The Chief Secretary's son Vivek also reportedly admitted to having undisclosed income of Rs 5 crore.
CRPF forces were deployed at his Anna Nagar residence as the IT search continued.
Searches were also being carrried out at his office at the Tamil Nadu Secretariat.
Image courtesy: Screen grab of Puthiya Thalaimurai
Meanwhile, Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman told reporters in Madurai that the IT raid on the Chief Secretary was "not an act of vengeance" and said IT raids can be conducted at any time based on a source of information.
On December 8, Income Tax officials seized Rs 90 crore worth of cash and 100 kg of gold bars in multiple raids in Chennai.
Out of the Rs 90 crore that was seized by the I-T sleuths, Rs 80 crore was in discontinued old Rs 500 and Rs 1000 currency notes, while Rs 10 crore was recently introduced Rs 2000 notes.
One Srinivasa Reddy, his associate Shekhar Reddy and their agent Prem were being interrogated by I-T officials in connection with the seizure.
The Income Tax department later declared the seizure to be of a whopping 177 kg gold and Rs 130 crore, of which Rs 34 crore was in new denomination currency.
Shekar Reddy is believed to have been closely linked to senior bureaucrats in Tamil Nadu and TN CM O Panneerselvam.
The ongoing I-T raids at Raoâ€™s residence could be linked to it.
The ED and CBI had also registered cases against Reddy and two others on two days.