VIJAYAWADA: Officials of the Income Tax (I-T) department carried out surprise raids on real estate, construction, and aquaculture companies in Krishna, Guntur, Prakasam, Nellore and Visakhapatnam districts on Friday. The raids reportedly began at around 7 am and ended late in the night. The officials seized documents pertaining to income and expenditure of the firms.
Under the supervision of Income Tax Commissioner (Vijayawada Range) Bhupal Reddy, six separate teams, who were kept in the dark about their operations till the last minute, reached their office at Auto Nagar around 6 am. After getting the nod from the commissioner, the teams, comprising officials from the investigation and other wings, visited Narayana Junior College at Nara Chandrababu Naidu Colony and left the place shortly. The other teams raided a branch office of the Hyderabad-based Southern Developers near Venkateswara temple at Labbipet, Subhagruha Projects (India) Pvt Ltd at Veterinary Colony, the office of VS Bricks and Blocks at Penuganchiprolu, VS Engineering Private Limited in Guntur, VL Logistics office near Vinayak theatre and NSR Housing in Visakhapatnam.
In Visakhapatnam, searches were conducted at the offices of two real estate companies. According to sources in the I-T department, two firms Subhagruha (Projects) India Pvt Ltd, owned by N Sankara Rao, and NSR Housing Pvt Ltd, had uncleared tax dues for a long time.
During the raids, the officials verified account books, old records at both Subhagruha situated at Gurudwara Junction and NSR Housing Pvt Ltd office at Sitammadhara. The I-T officials also raided the properties of Shankar Rao and his son Kalyan Chakravarthy, who is the vice-chairman of Subhagruha, and seized the documents related to recent land purchases.
According to sources, an aqua hatchery belonging to a relative of Kandukur MLA P Rama Rao at K Bitragunta village in Prakasam district and a stone polishing unit were also raided. The raids on properties and offices of BMR Group, owned by TDP leader and industrialist Beeda Masthan Rao continued for the second day on Friday with three teams having raided BMR Hatcheries in Nellore, Iskapalli and Damavaram.
Meanwhile, Municipal Administration and Urban Development Minister P Narayana denied Income Tax department raids on his educational institutions.
Speaking at Kavali in Nellore district, he said the Central government was deliberately targeting TDP leaders in the State. “There were no I-T raids on Narayana educational institutions in the State. It’s the stunt of the BJP and people will teach them a lesson in the coming elections,” he said.
TDP MP Kanakamedala Ravindra Kumar described the I-T raids as a conspiracy of the BJP-led NDA government to weaken the party in the State. Speaking to media persons on Friday, he accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of misusing his power.
Responding to the allegations, BJP MP and party national spokesperson GVL Narasimha Rao found fault with the TDP leaders for terming the I-T raids Centre’s tool to unleash political vendetta against Andhra Pradesh.
Speaking to the media at the party head office, he said: “Instead of welcoming the raids against tax defaulters, why are the TDP leaders getting jittery? The I-T department, an independent agency, initiates raids only after it has concrete information. By holding an emergency meeting with his party leaders, Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu is admitting that his partymen are corrupt. If the ruling party thinks that it is honest, let it move court.”
He further observed the people of the State would appreciate if the Centre went after tax defaulters. He felt that more raids were needed to unearth thousands of crores of rupees amassed by TDP through corruption by turning the State into ‘Scamandhra Pradesh’.