After Income-Tax raids at Rao’s house, CBI may step in

The Anti-Corruption Branch of CBI is likely to register a case against former Chief Secretary Rama Mohana Rao, his son Vivek Rao and also against the bank officials who assisted them to exchange demonetised currency notes.
After Income-Tax raids at Rao’s house, CBI may step in
Rama Mohana Rao and Sekhar Reddy


Highly placed sources in CBI told DTNext that registration of a case would be unavoidable as the Income Tax department has recorded a seizure of Rs 30 lakh in new currency notes from the premises owned by Mohana Rao and his son. 
“We have requested for the details of the seizure from the Income Tax department and once they officially hand them over to us, a case registration should automatically be done. The custodians of the cash will have to tell us that how they got so much money exchanged in violation of existing RBI guidelines,” a senior CBI official said. CBI has already registered several cases, both against private individuals and government staff, for bulk exchange of demonetised currency. 
CBI had also arrested sand mining baron Sekhar Reddy and his associates based on the input from the Income Tax department following seizure of Rs 34 crore in new Indian currency notes from their custody. CBI has some leads regarding the banks that had been conniving with the accused to get bulk amount of demonetised currency exchanged. 
Mohana Rao’s role in getting the Rs 34 crore exchanged for Reddy would also come under ACB’s scrutiny, sources said. Since the Sekhar Reddy cases are already under investigation, Mohana Rao’s alleged role in currency exchange would also be probed. So there is a possibility that he may become one of the accused in that case as well. The ACB FIR had already mentioned unknown banking officials and public servants as accused along with Reddy and his associates. Sources said, once an FIR is registered, there are chances of the accused being arrested in this case. 
“I-T (department) generally does not go for prosecution and arrest as their main aim is to extract the tax which the accused s had been evading. But ACB can arrest the officials and interrogate them in their custody for extracting information regarding the nexus they had with unknown bank officials,” the official added. 
Income Tax officials said that the CBI had sought information regarding seizure of new currency notes during the raids. “We will be passing on the details of the seizures to CBI. Some other agencies are also pursuing the details of our raids and seizures,” a senior I-T official disclosed. 
Meanwhile, sources told this newspaper that the Enforcement Directorate may also take up investigation of the case as a money laundering issue. Sources said that an examination of the seized documents would be done first before deciding on the money laundering aspect.
Even as the dust is yet to settle down over the CBI raids leading to the seizure of money and gold and arrest of sand baron J Sekhar Reddy and his associates, senior Congress leader and spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi appeared on behalf of one of the accused Rathnam in the CBI court on Friday. Rathnam was arrested on Thursday along with three other accomplices of Sekhar Reddy. However, when Singhvi said he represented Rathinam, the CBI sought time to come out with its response. Earlier, Special judge for CBI cases Vijayalakshmi who heard the bail and custody pleas of Sekhar Reddy and his associate K Srinivasalu adjourned both their bail and custody plea to December 27 based on CBIs submission seeking time. The CBI had filed a petition seeking 15 days of police custody of Sekhar Reddy and Srinivasalu. All the five were arrested in connection with the conversion of new currency to the tune of Rs 34 crore within 24 days from the date of announcement of demonetisation.

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