I-T sniffs Karnataka ex-dy CM’s scam money in co-op society

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BENGALURU: A Tumakuru credit co-operative society has come under the scanner of income-tax department in the medical seat scam that was unearthed following raids on educational institutions run by former deputy CM of Karnataka, G Parameshwara.
Investigations said that Shiva Shree Souharda Credit Co-operative Society — with three branches in Tumakuru and one in Bengaluru — was the epicentre of alleged money-laundering activities. The medical college management parked unaccounted money in the society, sources in the I-T department said.
During searches on Siddhartha Medical College and Siddhartha Institute of Medical Sciences and Research, run by Parameshwara, a senior I-T official said they found eight bank accounts opened in the society in the names of employees of educational institutes. After scrutiny, officials seized the accounts along with Rs 5 crore in deposits.
Suspecting a money-laundering racket, the officials are examining all the accounts of the co-operative society. “The case is in preliminary investigating stages,” said Pathanjali, director general of income tax, Karnataka and Goa Region.
Sources said the accused allegedly opened benami savings accounts in the names of employees with documents they submitted at the time of joining medical colleges. Later, the accused deposited money into accounts and converted them into fixed deposits. The employees were in the dark about this illicit operation until the I-T officials questioned them last week. Sources said some trustees had availed loans showing FDs as surety, and repaid the loans to make accounts look legitimate.
The co-operative society has 15 directors, and the sleuths are doing a background search on them. Mallikarjunaiah, adviser to the society, said their institution was transparent and was in no way involved with the seat scam. “Other than eight suspicious accounts, the sleuths found no irregularities,” he added.
Sources quoting investigators said unaccounted money had been invested in real estate and hospitality sector, among others. “We are still looking at documents and recording stakeholders’ statements. We may take more time before submitting the final tax-evasion report to the finance ministry,” said R Ravichandran, director of income tax investigation.
College managements allegedly sold each seat under management quota for a price between Rs 50 lakh and Rs 70 lakh. Of the 300 government seats in three colleges — two run by Parameshwara and the third by former Union minister RL Jalappa in Kolar district — I-T officials found some 186 seats converted into management quota.

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