After the dramatic announcement of demonetisation by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 8 November 2016, the people of India were running helter-skelter in search of ATMs for money. Many ATMs were running dry and there was acute shortage of cash.
But for one man, the entire demonetisation exercise meant nothing. When the common man was running from pillar to post in search of new ₹2000 notes, sand mining baron Sekar Reddy was caught red handed by the Income Tax department with ₹9.63 crore new ₹2000 notes.
The visuals of the seizure shocked many. When the common man did not have access to more than 2 new ₹2000 notes at one time. Sekar Reddy managed to get hold of ₹9.63 crores in newly minted 2000 rupee note. Along with that ₹96.89 crores of demonetised currency, old worth 36.29 crore was recovered from J Sekar Reddy.
During the search, the Income Tax sleuths stumbled upon a diary containing details of payment made to almost everyone that matters in this State. The officers were shocked to see how the entire government machinery from the top ministers to bureaucrats to district administration officials were on the pay rolls of the sand mining baron.
Following the seizure of account books, the Income Tax (Investigation) department sent a letter to the Chief Secretary of Tamil Nadu without attaching any documents that several officials and public servants had received huge money as bribe from Sekar Reddy.
By this time, Ram Mohana Rao, IAS, the mega looter was shifted and Girija Vaithyanathan had too charge. Girija Vaidhyanathan, took charge as Chief Secretary and she was also holding additional charge of Commissioner for Vigilance and Administrative Reforms.
She forwarded the letter to the Director of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption with a direction to conduct a probe. A Preliminary Enquiry in No. PE 131/2017/PUB/HQ was registered.
The Investigating Officer who was just handed over a letter of IT, proceeded and met Income Tax officials whom handed over the entire account books of Sekar Reddy. He first decoded the entries in the account book which were written in a coded language.
One of the allegations that the I.O stumbled upon is that former Chief Secretary Ram Mohana Rao, bought a diamond necklace for 97 lakhs. As per the Income Tax rules, purchase of any jewellery more than 2 lakhs should be intimated to the IT department after collecting the PAN and other details of the buyer. In this case, the diamond necklace worth 97 lakhs were shown as diamond studs.
Ram Mohan Rao being a seasoned corrupt officer wanted to hoodwink the Income Tax department. With the help of Kirtilal Jewellers, he prepared 47 fake bills to show as if he purchased 47 diamond studs, (including making charges). The ultimate aim is that the bill should not exceed 2 lakh rupees so that it does not come under the Income Tax radar.
The Investigative Officer in DVAC known for his fine investigative skills, examined the managers of Kirtilal Jewelers Kanagaraj and Sivakumar. Both of them both before the Income Tax authorities in their sworn statements and before the DVAC I.O agreed that they indeed generated fake bills. However, they retracted their statements later.
Apart from this, the diary entries for a total payment of Rs.50,33,55,000 (Rupees Fifty Crores, thirty three lakhs and fifty five thousand) to Ram Mohana Rao were found in the entries.
The second allegation pertains to various named and unnamed individuals. The list isAll Posts as follows. (Statement I)
Payment of bribe to various public servants and private persons.
The amended Prevention of Corruption Act, says,
“The Amendment Act provides that any public servant who accepts or attempts to accept from any person, any ‘undue advantage’, either for himself or for any other person, in lieu of performance of a public duty, shall be punishable with imprisonment for a minimum term of 3 (three) years and maximum of 7 (seven) years. The Amendment Act has defined ‘undue advantage’ to mean any gratification other than legal remuneration that a public servant is permitted to receive. Further, ‘gratification’ is not limited to pecuniary gratifications or to gratifications estimable in money. By virtue of such an expansive definition, even non-monetary considerations such as a better posting, post-retirement benefits, gifts and favours not estimable in money can also be covered under the ambit of undue advantage.”
The term ‘criminal misconduct’ was diluted by the BJP government and the amended Act came into place from 26 July 2018. The Preliminary Enquiry was registered in 2017. A cursory glance of the bribery list shows that an FIR followed by search and further investigation is warranted.
Entry number 36 in this list is very important. The entry says,”SC Special Delhi”. Sreenivasulu, in his sworn statement before the Income Tax authorities accepted that it was for Supreme Court. The amount of 2 crores would not have been meant for a clerk in SC and to whom it is meant for is obvious, albeit the name is not available. Sreenivasulu, agreed that it was for some SC judge but pleaded ignorance as to whom it was sent.
The total payment made to Ministers and public servants by Sekar Reddy within a span of one year alone comes to 105,48,20,000/- (Rupees one hundred and five crores, forty eight lakhs and twenty thousand).
As you can see, the list contains the names from Chief Minister Edappadi Palanisamy, Deputy CM OPS and almost all the cabinet ministers in the ruling AIADMK.
The third allegation (Statement III) pertains to payment of bribes to various state government authorities of Mines and Minerals Department, Revenue, etc. The list is furnished below.
One of the entries is a sum of 94 lakhs paid to Thiru Atul Anand, IAS, then Commissioner of Mines and Minerals.
Statement IV is the list of bribe paid to various central government and state officials.
This allegation too contains a very serious entry in serial number 2. It says, “SC/Special/Delhi (Supreme Court)”. The amount against this entry is Rupees six crores. Obviously such a huge amount would not be meant for a steno in Supreme Court.
The fourth allegation (Statement V) is mainly focussed towards Ram Mohana Rao, IAS. As the total entries in this statement 39,77,57,900 (Rupees thirty nine crores, seventy sevel lakhs, fifty seven thousand and nine hundred rupees).
Entry in Serial Number 16 is none other than the present Chief Secretary of Tamil Nadu Rajeev Ranjan IAS. When a WhatsApp message was sent to him seeking his reactions, he kept mum after receiving the message.
Veeraraghava Rao IAS’s reaction was
It is a False Allegation”
In this entry, officials were named as Collector, SP, etc. After meticulous verification, the identity of the officers have been found and mentioned. The interesting entry in the Statement V is serial Number 18. It has been mentioned as Sub-Collector Lalgudi. A sum of Rs.50 lakhs is mentioned against this entry.
The then Sub-Collector Lalgudi is Dr V Jayachandra Bhanu Reddy IAS. He is a directly recruited IAS officer of 2011 batch. If he has managed to receive a bribe of 50 lakhs from an illegal sand smuggler, imagine what kind of collection he would indulge in when he reaches the level of Chief Secretary.
All these entries are mere entries made in hand by a person working in SRS mining, isn’t it ? As he has claimed, Sekar Reddy pleaded ignorance and said, “If some one wrote something in a diary, how can I be responsible. And how can you say that it is true” He is right.
The intelligent I.O decided to cross check the other entries in the diaries viz. banking transactions and land registration transactions. There were several entries with regard to deposits in banks and purchase of lands, and sundry. (Statement VI) The documents collected from bank, and registration department tallied perfectly with the entries of bribery. If these entries are true, the bribery entries should also be true.
So, the I.O. thought that this is a fit case for registration of a Regular Case (FIR) into all allegations, conduct searches and proceed further.
The final allegation pertains to undue favours conferred on Vivek Pappisetty, Son of former Chief Secretary Ram Mohana Rao. Tamil Nadu government has been implementing free laptop scheme to students. Two firms, Acer (not the manufacturer of acer laptops) and ICMC corporation won orders for supply of free laptops.
The ICMC’s original business was manufacture of carton boxes for liquor manufacturers. Link However they managed to get orders for the supply of free laptops along with Acer. Curiously, the laptop orders did not contain the mandatory clause of ‘compulsory anti-virus’ software. Anyone who has dealt with tenders know,
The annual maintenance contract was given to a firm run by one Raj Shruthi. He had during 1996 DMK tenure supplied free Colour TV. Following the award of contracts for AMC Raj Shruthi, outsourced the work to two firms. (1) PC Chip Technologies and (2) Virtu Technologies.
Do you know who runs these two firms which got the outsourcing order ?
Vivek Pappisetty, son of former CS Rama Mohana Rao.
There are two illegalities in this transactions. First, the anti-virus software should have been made mandatory. Two, how can a firm which takes orders for AMC outsource it and make money without doing any work ?
Ram Mohana Rao’s son Vivek Pappisetty had started the following firms.
1) Trans Earth Logistics Private Limited. (Date of incorporation 8 April 2013)
2) Tel Karaikal Logistics Private Limited. (Date of Incorporation 12 January 2016)
3) Blue Ocean Personnel & Allied Services Private Limited (Date of Incorporation 12 January 2016)
4) 3Lok Infra and Logistics Private Limited (Date of Incorporation July 2009)
5) Trans Earth Logistics Tech Solutions Private Limited,( Date of Incorporation 11 September 2015)
6) Swan Facility Services Private Limited (Date of Incorporation 15 October 2013)
If you note, all the above firms were started by the son of Ram Mohana Rao after he became Secretary 2, (He is even now called as S2) to the late Jayalalitha.
The diary entries of Sekar Reddy’s JRS Mining also reveal that Vivek Pappisetty, Son of Ram Mohana Rao had been paid a ‘facilitation fee’ of 10 crores by Sekar Reddy. What did he facilitate and why he has been paid money needs a thorough probe.
Further, the said Vivek Pappisetty had purchased a property in Chamiers Road in the name of his firm Blue Ocean Personnel & Allied Services Private Limited. The actual market price of this property is Rs. 1.9 crores but in document this amount is shown as 10 lakhs. The remaining amount was paid by, of course Sekar Reddy.
Further he has purchased a property in Andhra Pradesh from one Peter.. The actual value of the land is Rs. 9,57,43,127/- (Rupees nine crores, fifty seven thousand, forty three thousand and one hundred and twenty seven rupees). On record this property was registered for Rs. 4,21,05,250/- (Rupees four crores, twenty one thousand, five thousand and two hundred and fifty rupees) The remaining amount was paid in black money by Sekar Reddy.
When, Thiru.Ram Mohana Rao, former Chief Secretary of Tamil Nadu was contacted for his reactions, he flatly denied the allegations and had this to say, “They were all totally baseless and false allegations made against me to ensure that I am unseated from the post of CS, soon after the demise of then CM Jayalalithaa Madam. I have been a victim of vicious media attack and by vengeful vested interests. It continues even now.”
The investigating officer had hit a bulls eye in nailing down Sekar Reddy by meticulously connecting the dots and establishing the crime. The I.O after conducting a brilliant investigation submitted their final report seeking orders for 5 FIRs.
S.Murugan IPS was the then Joint Director of Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption. Thiru Manjunatha IPS was the Director of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption then. Manjunatha gave the I.O a free hand to conduct the investigation and never interfered with the investigation.
But, Joint Director Murugan, a crooked cop, wanted to sabotage the investigation and ensure that this enquiry hits a stonewall.
Following the submission of report by the I.O, Murugan found that the report is explosive and may send the incumbent CM Edappadi Palanisamy to prison. Murugan, as Joint Director was leaking information about the progress of investigation in many sensitive cases including the Gutkha scam, assets complaints against OPS, SP Velumani etc.
During the search by CBI in the residence of former Head of Police Force TK.Rajendran, the CBI sleuths stumbled upon a scribbling pad. It contained the opinion given by the Advocate General of Tamil Nadu on the Gutkha case verbatim. The CBI sleuths came to the conclusion that it was Murugan who read out the opinion of the AG over phone and the idiot TK Rajendran jotted it down in a scribbling pad. Only for this valuable service, Murugan was posted as IG South Zone, a coveted post, in spite of him facing sexual harassment charges.
Murugan decided that this enquiry should not proceed further and needs to be buried.
He issued an order that all this report given by the I.O needed to be probed by four different Investigating Officers, apart from the present one. This is a classic example of how corrupt officers at the top derail the investigations.
Never in the history of DVAC from 1964, an enquiry was asked to be probed by 4 different IOs.
This enquiry was entrusted to the following Investigating Officers for further probe
1) Ramachandramurthy, Deputy Superintendent of Police
2) Thirunavukkarasu, Deputy Superintendent of Police
3) Prabha, Inspector of Police
4) Venkatachalapathy, Addl Superintendent of Police.
The report of the I.O was given to all the above four police officers and they were directed to conduct independent enquiry.
As much as the top officers wanted to derail the probe against Sekar Reddy, to their surprise 3 investigating officers agreed with the findings of the first I.O and gave their opinion that Sekar Reddy bribing public servants was a fit case for registering FIRs.
The 4th officer Venkatachalapathy, Addl SP who joined in DVAC on 30.01.2019, who is reported to be a useless fellow, came out with a desired report that the likes of Murugan wanted to see.
The offer given to him was, give a report that there is nothing further to probe in this enquiry.
He complied and here is how Additional SP Venkatachalapthy was rewarded for his cover-up work.
Every Sub Inspectors of Police’s dream is to retire as a Superintendent of Police. This author is perplexed what is the charm in retiring as an SP. But, I have seen this in many of my friends who had joined as Sub Inspectors.
Venkatachalapathy’s date of superannuation – 30 June 2019.
Police Note SC 16/2019, dated 28 June 2019, promoted Venkatachalapathy as SP. The orders were issued late in the evening. It was a Friday.
Venkatachalapathy took charge on 29 June 2019, a Saturday and retired on 30 June 2019, a Sunday.
Is this not a quid pro quo?
When asked for reaction, Venkatachalapathy said, “along with him, few others were also promoted as SP from the post of Addl SP and his one day promotion (that too a holiday) has nothing to do with his report on Sekar Reddy.
This author managed to get the promotion order in which Venkatachalapathy was promoted as SP along with 11 more Additional SPs. All the 11 Additional SPs had service left from 8 months to 3 years. None in the promotion order were promoted as SP just “for a day”.
A senior IPS officer on condiction of anonymity said, but for Venkatachalapathy, the remaining 11 IPS officers would not have been promoted at all, as the government never bothers about non AIS officers.
Former Chief Secretary Ram Mohana Rao, following the search in his office and residential premises in December 2016, Ram Mohana Rao thundered waving two copies of *panchanamas* given by the I-T department on what had been seized from his house, had yielded only Rs 1,12,320 cash. “And gold on the person of my wife and daughter – 40 to 50 sovereigns – and silver articles including Lord Mahalakshmi, Lord Vinayaka and Lord Venkateswara,”
But the secret that not yet been revealed to the public is what was seized from his office.
(i) Yellow Office file containing Pages 1 to 59
(ii) Pink File containing pages 1-86
(iii) Brown colour closed envelope
(iv) Loose sheets 1 to 8
v) One iPhone and one LYE phone.
What are these files ? What are the secrets in the phones ? No one knows and no one will ever know.
One may wonder what is the purpose of this article, just a day ahead of elections. It’s a grim reminder of who was ruling us all this while and who was influencing the Government. The sand mining baron was also bribing various politicians belong to the opposition too including the DMK. This is just the tip of an iceberg.
This author is certain that there may never be any enquiry / investigation into these allegations. Unofficially Sekar Reddy said to his friend, “The system needs a person like Sekar Reddy. The system will protect me. None will touch me”.
On 29 September 2020, the CBI filed a report against in the CBI Special Court that “There is no evidence against Sekar Reddy” Link
Isn’t Sekar Reddy right when he said “The system will protect me”.
At the end of the day, he is having the last laugh.