ED raids former K'taka minister, Cong MLA in Valmiki Corporation 'scam' case

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Bengaluru, Jul 10 (PTI) The Enforcement Directorate on Wednesday carried out searches in four states, including on the premises of former Karnataka minister and Congress leader B Nagendra and MLA B Daddal, as part of a money laundering probe linked to alleged irregularities in the Karnataka Maharshi Valmiki Scheduled Tribes Development Corporation Limited, official sources said.

The agency covered around 20 locations in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Maharashtra as part of its investigation in the case registered under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), the sources said.

The premises of Congress leader and former Karnataka Tribal Welfare and Sports minister Nagendra and Congress MLA from Raichur rural seat Daddal in Bengaluru, Raichur and Ballari, some bullion operators in Mumbai and some entry operators and linked entities are being searched. An armed escort of the CRPF accompanied the ED teams.

Nagendra's PA was taken to the ED office in Bengaluru for questioning even as the officials recovered some documents and computer hardware.

Daddal was also the chairperson of the Corporation.

A Special Investigation Team (SIT) of Karnataka Police CID had questioned the two on Tuesday in this case.

Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said his government will not interfere in the ED probe.

"Let ED do their job, we won't interfere in that.

Let them do their job in accordance with law, let them do whatever they have to," Siddaramaiah told reporters here in response to a question on the raids.

The alleged scam came to fore after accounts superintendent of the Corporation, Chandrasekharan P, was found dead on May 21. He wrote a purported suicide note alleging illegal transfer of money from the Corporation to various bank accounts.

Subsequently two officials were suspended. With mounting pressure, minister Nagendra resigned on May 29.

The Congress government, thereafter, constituted a Special Investigation Team (SIT) which has so far arrested 11 people in connection with the case.

In the suicide note, Chandrasekharan alleged that there was an unauthorised transfer of Rs 187 crore belonging to the state-run Corporation from its bank account.

Further, Rs 88.62 crore was illegally deposited into various accounts of some IT companies and a Hyderabad-based cooperative bank.

While the state government has constituted the SIT to investigate it, the Central Bureau of Investigation is also probing it simultaneously based on a complaint by the Union Bank of India.

Meanwhile, State BJP chief B Y Vijayendra said that based on the Union Bank of India's letter, the CBI has registered an FIR, and now the ED is also conducting raids in connection with the case. "We welcome ED raids on Nagendra and Daddal," he said.

"This is probably a big scam unheard of in the state's history. The money that was kept for ST communities has been misused by siphoning off to other states for the elections there and for the Lok Sabha polls," he alleged. PTI NES GMS KSU RT RT

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