'Let ED do their job,' says Karnataka CM on searches in Valmiki Corporation ''scam'' case

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Mysuru, Jul 10 (PTI) Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Wednesday said his government will not interfere in the Enforcement Directorate's (ED) probe into alleged irregularities in a state-run corporation.

The ED is carrying out searches in four states, including at the premises of a former Minister in the Siddaramaiah government, B Nagendra, and ruling Congress MLA Basanagouda Daddal, who is Chairman of the Karnataka Maharshi Valmiki Scheduled Tribes Development Corporation Limited, official sources said.

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

"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 illegal money transfer issue, involving the Corporation, came to the fore, after its accounts superintendent, Chandrasekharan P killed himself on May 26.

He left behind a note claiming unauthorised transfer of Rs 187 crore belonging to the Corporation from its bank account; from that, Rs 88.62 crore was illegally moved to various accounts allegedly belonging to "well-known" IT companies and a Hyderabad-based cooperative bank among others.

Chandrasekharan has named the Corporation's now-suspended Managing Director J G Padmanabh, accounts officer Parashuram G Durugannavar, and Union Bank of India Chief Manager Suchismita Rawal in the note, while also stating that the "Minister" had issued oral orders for transferring the funds.

Following allegations against him in connection with the scam, Nagendra, who was Scheduled Tribes Welfare Minister, tendered his resignation on June 6.

The state government has constituted an SIT headed by Manish Kharbikar, Additional Director General of Police, Economic Offences, at the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), to conduct the probe.

The SIT questioned Nagendra and Daddal on Tuesday in connection with the case.

Mumbai-headquartered Union Bank of India had also filed a complaint with the CBI in connection with embezzlement of money belonging to the Corporation involving its MG Road branch, following which the premier investigation agency had initiated a probe.

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." "This is probably a big corruption scam that is 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.

Vijayendra further said that until a couple of days ago SIT that was constituted by the state government did not even bother to give notice to Nagendra and Daddal in connection with the case, and it was only due to pressure from the BJP they were called for inquiry. PTI KSU RS RS

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