Within days after G Janardhan Reddy's daughter's lavish wedding grabbed headlines for its uber splendour, Income Tax Department has raided the mining baron's offices in Bellari.
According to a report in OneIndia, a team of five I-T Department officials raided the former BJP lawmaker's Obulapuram Mining Company (OMC) offices. Reddy's residence can come under the scanner next, as reported by AAJ Tak.
According to CNN-News18, the I-T officials entered Reddy's offices and cordoned off the premises at around 12.30 pm. The raids were still underway, at the time of writing this report.
The I-T officials also conducted surveys on at least ten locations of high-end event management firms, catering and multi-media service providers who were engaged for the extravagant wedding, according to PTI.
Officials said that taxmen visited seven locations in bengaluru and three in Hyderabad of those event management companies which were given contracts to give a blockbuster look for the wedding of Bramhani last week in the city.
They said the department, after receiving reports of high spending for the event, initiated the action and is checking the account books, payment receipts and contract portfolios of these firms who specialise in creating special ambience and customised display for high-end spending clientele during their special events like weddings.
The firms include those providing special swiss tents, expensive cutlery, multi-cuisine food and pyrotechnic dealers who brought a lavish style to the event. Under the survey action, tax sleuths visit business premises of the trader/operator and make analysis of the available stock and record it whereas under search operations both residential and business premises are visited by the
taxman and seizure of cash and incriminating documents, if any, is effected.
Once the scrutiny of accounts and contract books is done, they said, further action of issuing notices to investigate tax evasion by both the contractor and the contractee will be undertaken.
The CNN-News18 report added that the BJP, whose prominent ministers were in attendance of the alleged Rs 500-crore worth of grand affair, has distanced themselves from the I-T crackdown. The party said that its leaders' decision to attend the event was made on a personal level. However, it added that the opulence was uncalled for and could have been avoided, given the timing of the event.
The grand wedding of the mining baron and former minister's daughter took place at the sprawling Palace Grounds in Bangalore on 16 November. According to Deccan Chronicle, just a day before the five-day-long lavish event came to its conclusion, an RTI activist T Narsimha Murthy had filed a complaint with the Directorate General of Income Tax.
The opposition also cried foul with Congress MP Anand Sharma, lashing out at BJP in the Rajya Sabha, mocking its state leaders for attending the lavish wedding, allegedly conducted wit ill-gotten money, accroding to Economic Times. However, interestingly, State Congress President and Karnataka Hoe Minister, G Parameshwara was also seen in attendance at the wedding, along with his three cabinet coleagues.
Reddy, a former BJP lawmaker was out on bail and is undergoing trial in a multi-billion coal scam for which he was nabbed in September 2011. He spent over 40 months in jail before the Supreme Court granted him bail in January 2015, according to The Hindu.
The mining baron's daughter's opulent wedding had raised eyebrows across the nation, especially since it came at a time when people across the country were reeling under cash crunch after the Modi government's apparent attempt to curb down black money hoarders.
The grandeur of the wedding was such that huge sets replicating Vijaya Vitthala temple of Hampi, the seat of the glorious erstwhile Vijayanagara empire, and Tirumala Tirupati temple were erected at the venue, along with the replicas of the homes of both of bride and the groom.
Pre-wedding events were on with equal extravagance at the venue for the five days. The first glimpse of the ostentatious wedding came with the invitation box which had a LCD screen playing a video, where Reddy and the family were seen inviting guests, lip syncing to a song.
It is said that about 50,000 people were invited at the wedding and people were also ferried from Reddy's bastion, Bellary. Reddy and family, dressed up as "royals" in gold and diamond, had left no stone unturned for the wedding. Most utensils for the wedding rituals were either gold or silver and the entire venue was equipped with air conditioners.
The who's who of the Kannada and Telugu film industry had also attended the wedding ceremony. Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala, Home Minister G Parameshwara, Energy Minister DK Shiva Kumar, Transport Minister Ramalinga Reddy and BJP state president BS Yeddyurappa were among prominent leaders who attended the wedding.
With inputs from PTI