Karnataka Chief Minister: Will not interfere in Enforcement Directorate (ED) investigation into irregularities

Karnataka Chief Minister: Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said on Wednesday that his government will not interfere in the Enforcement Directorate’s (ED) probe into alleged irregularities in the state corporation. An official said the ED is carrying out searches in four states, including at the premises of former minister in the Siddaramaiah government B Nagendra and ruling Congress MLA Basanagouda Daddal, who is the chairman of the Karnataka Maharshi Valmiki Scheduled Tribes Development Corporation Ltd. Sources said the agency covered about 20 locations in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and another state in a case registered under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). “Let the ED do its work, we will not interfere,” he said. “Let them do their work according to the law, let them do what they have to do,” Siddaramaiah told reporters here in response to a question about the raids. The issue of illegal money transfers involving the corporation came to the fore after its Accounts Superintendent Chandrasekharan P. committed suicide on May 26. He left a note claiming unauthorised transfer of Rs 187 million of the corporation’s funds from his bank account; subsequently, Rs 88.62 crore was allegedly transferred illegally to other accounts, including those of “known” IT companies and a Hyderabad-based cooperative bank.

Chandrasekaran in the note blamed the corporation’s now suspended CEO J. Chandrasekaran for transferring the funds. Following allegations against himself in connection with the scam, Nagendra, who was the minister for Scheduled Tribes Welfare, tendered his resignation on June 6. The state government has constituted an SIT headed by Manish Kharbikar, additional director general of police, economic offences, in the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) to conduct the probe. The SIT questioned Nagendra and Daddal on Tuesday in the case. The Mumbai-based Union Bank of India also filed a complaint with the CBI regarding the misuse of the corporation’s funds in connection with the MG Road branch, following which the premier investigating agency began the probe. Meanwhile, state BJP chief BY Vijayendra said that based on the letter from Union Bank of India, the CBI has filed an FIR and now the ED is also conducting raids in connection with the case. “We welcome the ED raids at Nagendra and Daddal’s premises.” “This is possibly a major corruption scam unprecedented in the history of the state. The money meant for ST communities has been misappropriated by sending it to other states for elections and Lok Sabha polls,” he alleged. Vijayendra further said that until a few days ago, the SIT formed by the state government did not bother to inform Nagendra and Daddal about the case and it was only due to pressure from the BJP that they were called for an inquiry.

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