K’taka tribal welfare Board: ED raids ex-minister’s homes, Nagendra’s PA held

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Bengaluru, July 10 (IANS) The ED conducted raids on the residences of former minister B Nagendra, and tribal welfare Board Chairman Basavaraja Daddal, in Bengaluru and Bellary on Wednesday, in connection with irregularities in the Board.

The ED also arrested Nagendra’s Personal Assistant (PA), Harish.

Raids are underway at the flats owned by Nagendra in upscale Sadashivanagar in Bengaluru and in Nehru Colony in Ballari city.

Nagendra, a Congress MLA from Bellary Rural, was forced to resign after the irregularities came to light.

Raids are also being conducted at the residence of Board Chairman Daddal in the Yelahanka locality of Bengaluru, sources said.

Nagendra’s PA, Harish allegedly received hawala money and gold biscuits on behalf of the former minister.

He had also given oral orders to officers regarding transactions.

Harish had allegedly received money sent by the accused Satyanarayana Varma from Hyderabad and is also charged with having received Rs 25 lakh from another accused, Padmanabha.

Harish is suspected of having transacted Rs 50 to Rs 60 crore. In this backdrop, Harish has been arrested for further investigation by the ED, sources stated.

Commenting on the raids, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah stated, “Let the ED sleuths continue to do their job. Let them do what they want to do as per the law.”

He refused to answer a question about the chances of former minister Nagendra being arrested in the case.

Commenting on the development, state BJP President, BY Vijayendra stated that the ED was moving in the right direction.

Karnataka Home Minister, G. Parameshwara, stated on Wednesday that he did not know why the ED was conducting raids on Nagendra’s residences.

He said, “The investigation is being conducted by the SIT based on the statements recorded by Nagendra, Board Chairman Daddal, and their assistants. The investigation will continue today as well, and in the meantime, the ED sleuths have conducted raids. The ED or the Union government did not inform the state about the raids. They conducted the raids, and it is their job. There is no question of the Congress government being embarrassed.

“We can’t assume the roles of Nagendra and Daddal in the case.”

The BJP is alleging direct involvement of CM Siddaramaiah in the case and claiming that Rs 187 crore were used to fund elections in Telangana and other states.

The irregularities had come to light after the suicide of senior officer Chandrasekaran, who left a note alleging that senior officials had forced him to open a parallel account to divert money from the Board’s primary account, based on “oral instructions by a minister.”

Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister, DK Shivakumar on Tuesday said, “It is true that there is misuse and misappropriation of funds in the tribal welfare Board by the officers. We have spoken in this regard with our ministers. They have clarified that they are not involved in any of the acts.

“One of our ministers has voluntarily resigned as it is not good to face an investigation being a minister. I came to know that a notice had been issued to him to appear before the authorities. I won’t interfere, let them conduct an investigation.”

–IANS

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