KOCHI: The Income Tax (I-T) officers probing black money hoarding by the Pandalam-based Sreevalsam Group were quite surprised seeing the service record of its owner M K R Pillai, who began his career as a constable and went to become the Deputy Superintendent of Police with the Nagaland Police.
I-T officers suspect Pillai grew to the current stature only with the blessings of bureaucrats and politicians in the north-eastern states.
Born in a moderate family at Pandalam, Pillai moved to Nagaland in the 70s. He was appointed GD constable with the Nagaland Police in 1971. Within three years, he was promoted to the Naik rank and transferred to the Nagaland Armed Police in 1974. Within a year, he was promoted as havildar. In 1981, Pillai was again promoted as Sub-Inspector with the Armed Battalion. The promotions were given superseding several senior persons, said an I-T officer.
“Later, Pillai was transferred to the Motor Transport (MT) wing of the Nagaland Police. He served as SI in the MT wing for around 10 years. Later in 1996, he was promoted as Inspector with Armed Battalion MT wing. In 1999, he was promoted as Deputy Superintendent of Police and in 2004, he rose to the rank of Additional SP. He was given presidential medal for meritorious service in 2005.”
“However after 2004-05, there were protests from the police association over favoritism shown to Pillai, as the other policemen of his batch could only become havildar within this time period. This prevented the Nagaland Police authorities from promoting Pillai to the SP rank. Some ranks like Inspector(MT), DSP (MT), consultant MT were created only for Pillai,” the officer said.
In the 80s, Pillai started investing money in small-scale business like restaurants and petrol pumps in various parts of Nagaland. I-T officers found a majority of the his business firms are partnership-based.
“Pillai had not started any business establishments in Kerala till 2005. After retiring from service around six years ago, he started full-fledged business in Kerala.
At present, he owns around 20 business establishments, including a hotel in Guruvayur, shopping centres, textile and jewellery shops in Haripad, Pandalam, Kottarakara and Kollam. He also owns a gold finance establishment,” the officer said.
While Pillai mostly stayed in Nagaland, the businesses were run by his sons Arun and Varun. Some of them were registered in his wife Valsala Raj’s name. Lately, they started investing in real estate business too.
“We have identified some of the persons who invested money in the firms. But, these persons have been declared his partners. We have to check the sources of money using which Pillai built up his business empire. A DSP-level officer with his salary cannot start business establishments that are worth `1000 crore,” I-T officer said.
I-T Dept freezes 32 bank accounts
Kochi: The Income Tax (I-T) Department froze 32 bank accounts of M K R Pillai, chairman of Sreevalsam Group, his family members and business partners. I-T officers said the accounts had around Rs 2.5 crore of rupees in them. “Around 24 accounts are in various branches of banks in Nagaland. Family members of Pillai have around Rs 1.56 crore in their accounts. Four bank accounts of Pillai have been frozen. Bank accounts of Pillai’s business partners in Kerala and Nagaland have also been frozen,” an officer said.
Kanam seeks detailed probe into Sreevalsam Group issue
“The Income Tax Department seized documents of illegal assets worth crores of rupees from various offices and houses of the group’s members. A detailed probe is necessary to bring clarity on the group’s business deals. The government has already begun probe into allegations levelled against Haripad Medical College. Any relations the group had with the medical college should also be revealed,” said Kanam Rajendran