Karnataka ST Corporation scam: Ex-minister’s close aide moved Rs 94.73 cr into accounts of fake firms

Karnataka ST Corporation scam: Ex-minister’s close aide moved Rs 94.73 cr into accounts of fake firms
(Express illustrations)

BENGALURU: The ongoing investigation by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) into the multi-crore scam in Karnataka Maharshi Valmiki Scheduled Tribes Development Corporation Ltd revealed that accused Nekunti Nagaraj (46), who is said to be a close aide of former minister for Tribal Welfare B Nagendra played a key role in the case. Named accused No. 10, Nagaraj allegedly illegally transferred Rs 94.73 crore from the corporation to various bank accounts of multiple fake companies.

Nagaraj was arrested by the CID on June 4 and remanded to judicial custody on June 18. He had allegedly actively taken part in the affairs of the Corporation and collected gold from some jewellery shops in lieu of the funds transferred into various bank accounts.

He had allegedly joined hands with Sathyanarayan, who is also arrested in connection with the scam that came to light when corporation’s Accounts Officer Chandrashekar died by suicide.

The CID, in its objections to Nagaraj’s bail petition, stated that the investigation is underway to ascertain who got those gold ornaments from Nagaraj. He is said to have deposited the money drawn from the Corporation’s account and the gold into the accounts of unknown persons, who are yet to be identified, it added.

CID said it is investigating how the money was transferred from the corporation’s bank account in the Vasanath Nagar branch of Union Bank of India to MG Road branch by putting pressure on the corporation Managing Director Padmanabh and Accounts Officer Parashuram allegedly through the minister.

The CID stated that the probe is on to know who mediated to get the seals, fake signatures and letterheads.

Nagaraj fought 2013 election from Koppal

The probe revealed that Nagaraj directly took part in the transfer of money to various accounts by interfering in the affairs of the corporation, claiming that he is a close aide and relative of the minister and benefitted from the transferred money, though he had no role in the corporation.

Nagaraj, who is presently claiming to be a BJP worker, had contested from the Koppal Assembly constituency in 2013 from the BSR party and was unsuccessful.

Bail rejected

Rejecting Nagaraj’s bail, Judge Yashawanth Kumar, LI Additional City Civil and Sessions Court, observed that the objections of the public prosecutor and the report of the investigating officer show that Nagaraj is required for the investigation. Huge public money has been allegedly misappropriated. Admittedly he is an associate of a minister and an activist of a political party, therefore a powerful and influential person. The investigation is at a preliminary stage, and if the petitioner is granted bail now, there is the likelihood of threatening the prosecution witnesses and tampering with evidence. There is a chance of fleeing from justice and he may not be available for investigation of the case, he said.

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