Enforcement Directorate has arrested sand-mining baron Sekhar Reddy from Chennai in connection with illegal money exchange case, according to reports. It has been learned that he was sent to judicial custody till Mar 28. He has been accused of converting the unaccounted cash held by them in old currency notes to new notes with the help of unknown public servants from different banks within 24 days from the date demonetisation was announced (November 8). Earlier, Reddy, along with his associate Srinivasulu, was arrested by CBI on December 21. Later he was granted bail.
Earlier, Income Tax officials had conducted raids here in the house of sand-mining baron Shekar Reddy’s associate Ratnam, a quarry contractor who was arrested a couple of days ago on charge of exchanging unaccounted old currency notes.
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CBI had on December 22 arrested Ratnam and another quarry contractor Ramachandran, and Reddy’s auditor Premkumar following investigations in connection with recent Income Tax searches at his residence and office in Chennai that resulted in seizure of 127 kg of gold and over Rs 170 crore in cash post-demonetisation.
The ED had also said it has arrested two persons here for alleged illegal exchange of Rs 6 crore in old notes “in connivance with” sand-mining baron J Sekhar Reddy as part of its money laundering probe post demonetisation. The agency has identified the two as Mahavir Hirani and Ashok Jain and said they were arrested under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). It added that the investigating officer of the case also recorded their statements and produced them in a court which remanded them in judicial custody till January 11.
“Investigations revealed that using few persons in Chennai like Hirani and Jain, about Rs 6-7 crore were obtained by Reddy, through Paras Mal Lodha, who was earlier arrested by the ED (in Delhi).
The Reddy case and the other involving Delhi-based lawyer Rohit Tandon are being probed by at least four agencies– the ED, the Income Tax department, the CBI and Delhi Police, and are considered the two most high-profile black money cases being investigated in the aftermath of the notes ban.
(With agency inputs)