# Heli-hopping irrigation contractor in I-T dept net
Statewide raids unearth Rs 200-cr illegal wealth, 30-kg gold and a fake bills scam.
BANGALORE : The recent raids carried out by the Income Tax Department across the State on contractors who execute irrigation, garbage disposal and road-laying works have revealed some astonishing facts.
Not only did the taxmen unearth unaccounted wealth of about Rs 200 crore but also stumbled upon the fact that the contractors run family business in the name of their children and close aides.
Carried out on October 9, the raids were one of the biggest in the recent past, with about 500 I-T sleuths searching at least 40 houses and offices in different parts of Karnataka, from Bijapur to Bangalore. “Besides unearthing unaccounted wealth of Rs 200 crore, we also seized Rs five crore in cash and about 30 kg of gold. Our investigation is still in progress,” a top source in the I-T Department told DH.
The major raids were conducted on contractors working for projects of the irrigation department’s Krishna Bhagya Jala Nigam Limited, Karnataka Neeravari Nigam Limited and Cauvery Neeravari Nigam Limited. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah is the chairperson of all the three irrigation corporations.
According to the I-T sources, the department floats tenders of about Rs 4,000 crore every year. The raids were conducted on five major contractors, D Y Uppar, G Shankar, Amrutha Constructions Private Limited, SNC Power Corporation Private Limited and Raghu
Uppar, sources said, is the biggest irrigation contractor who bagged a contract of about Rs 1,300 crore this year. He is from Bijapur, also the city of Minister for Major and Medium Irrigation, M B Patil. Uppar has a vast network of contractors operating under him. Besides him, his blood relatives and close aides are also contractors.
During the raids, the I-T sleuths seized Rs two crore in cash and about 20 kg of gold. The contractor owns a helicopter, which the I-T sleuths have orally instructed him not to fly until the investigations are over.
What prompted the I-T authorities to raid Uppar was that he had bagged a contract of Rs 600 crore last year and of Rs 1,300 crore this year. During the scrutiny, the sleuths found that he received payments on many bogus bills, the sources said.
Other contractors are also super rich, with each of them having contracts between Rs 300 crore and Rs 600 crore.
Garbage, road contractors
Raids carried out on garbage contractors in Bangalore revealed that the enterprise is monopolised by one family. “Garbage is like a family business. When we raided them, all the contractors were found in four houses,” an I-T official said.
Those raided included P Gopinath Reddy, C V Bhanumurthy, Anand Vardhan Reddy, Vidyanath Reddy, Vitthala Nath Reddy, Vishnu Vardhan Reddy, Vikram Dev Reddy, P Purandar Reddy, P Kavitha, P Vijay Dev Reddy, C V Rajanikath Reddy, E R Santhosh and C R Veeranarayanachary.
Each of them has a contract of about Rs 10-15 crore but when it was totalled, the entire family had bagged about Rs 150-160 crore worth of contracts.
The I-T department especially noted the fact that Mumbai and Delhi spend Rs 125-150 crore on garbage management whereas Bangalore spends a whopping Rs 450 crore.
During the probe, the I-T sleuths found payments received on fictitious bills. “Besides doing a comparison with other metros, we also took the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) into consideration, which has found many flaws in the solid waste management in Bangalore,” sources said.
Taxmen also raided the houses of road contractors of the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP). The biggest contractor to be netted was Chandrappa who operates through his four or five aides. His total business is worth about Rs 300 crore.
The other contractors are S R Ravishankar, C P Umesh and Venkataram Reddy. Each of them has a turnover of Rs 100 crore whereas another contractor, M Nagesh, has a turnover of Rs 50 crore. The complaint again is fictitious bills.
(G Manjusainath , Bangalore, Oct 21, 2014, DHNS).