A press statement from the IT department after its raids across 40 locations across India has sparked a war of words among political rivals the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and the YSRCP in Andhra Pradesh. The Income Tax (IT) department on Thursday stated that their raids uncovered Rs 2000 crore worth of unaccounted income in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh alone.
Taking to Twitter on Friday Nara Lokesh, the TDP general secretary and son of the former Chief Minister and TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu claimed that the YSRCP leaders were spreading false information about the IT raids. Lokesh claimed that the YSRCP was spreading lies that Rs 2000 crore was found by the IT department at the residence of Naidu's former personal secretary's residence.
Lokesh, a former minister, stated that if infrastructure companies were found to have taken part in illegal activities then an investigation will be done and action will be taken against those found guilty. He, however, stated that 'false information is being spread by linking those companies to TDP. It's normal for someone who spent 16 months in jail to wish for everyone else to do so but we don't wish to do any such thing'.
Lokesh was referring to Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy who stands accused in a disproportionate assets case and had to spend 16 months at Chanchalguda Jail in Hyderabad, Telangana. “It's not surprising that Jagan sees corruption everywhere as he himself is corrupt. Their news report shows that the IT raids were like digging up a mountain only to find a rat.” tweeted the leader who went on to tweet that, “Jagan is afraid of being sent to jail. This is why he is eager to link the IT raids held at infra companies to TDP”
The IT raids were conducted on February 6 across 40 premises in places such as Hyderabad, Vijayawada. Kadapa and Vishakapatnam, Delhi and Pune. The search action included three prominent infrastructure groups based in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. One of the firms raided by the IT department reportedly belongs to a TDP leader.
The three infra firms were found to have carried out multiple transactions by subcontracting works to shell companies. The transactions were carried out through a chain of companies with many firms showing a turn over of less than Rs 2 crore, to avoid tax audits of their account books, said IT department spokesperson to Deccan Chronicle.
Several such sub-contractors that turned out to shell companies were controlled by the principal contractors with all their Income Tax Returns (ITR) filings and other compliance being done from the IP addresses of the main corporate office.
The IT department stated that Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) receipts were also found in tune of several crores in the group companies of one of the infrastructure companies. The infrastructure company is suspected to have been round-tripping of its unaccounted funds through foreign countries. IT department seized unexplained cash of Rs 85 lakh and jewellery worth Rs 71 lakh through the raids. More than 25 bank lockers have been restrained as part of the raid.
Senior TDP leader and former minister Ynamala Ramakirhnudu warned legal action against YSRCP leaders for spreading false news on the TDP and Chandrababu over the IT raids. The leader said the in the past 26 such inquiries have been filed against the TDP chief in the past and that not even a single allegation has been proven.
Meanwhile, YSRCP ministers released multiple statements against TDP. While Agriculture Minister Kurasala Kannababu said the IT raids have clearly proved how corrupt Naidu was, minister Avanti Srinivas said corruption had reached its zenith in the execution of Polavaram and Pattiseema projects during Naidu's regime.