After realtors, bureaucrats under the scanner of I-T teams conducting raids in Hyderabad

The I-T teams have found that quite a few IAS officers, serving and retired, made substantial investments in the real estate companies, though not on record.

BySouth First Desk

Published Sep 05, 2022 | 1:06 PM Updated Sep 05, 2022 | 1:10 PM

After realtors, bureaucrats under the scanner of I-T teams conducting raids in Hyderabad

It’s not just realtors. Even bureaucrats in both the Telugu states — Telangana and Andhra Pradesh — are likely to face the heat as a consequence of the raids on real estate firms in Hyderabad.

Fresh information emerging from the material gathered by the income tax (I-T) teams from Mumbai, which carried out extensive searches, revealed that quite a few IAS officers, serving and retired, made substantial investments in the real estate companies, though not on record.

But the I-T personnel are understood to have traced the investments to these officers, though it is not clear whether they have so far been questioned.

According to informed sources, the money from the bureaucrats first flowed into the real estate firm Phoenix and from there to a few other firms which were also raided as part of the prolonged searches conducted by the taxmen.

What, however, surprised both the realtors and the bureaucrats was that the raids happened at a time when they believed that Delhi would protect them.

‘Get them,’ said Delhi

Sensing a strike almost two months ago, some representatives of the big real estate companies made a beeline to Delhi and felt relieved when those whom they met came up with “we will see” response.

Just when they started living in the comfort that nothing would happen, the I-T department struck.

That was being stated as the reason why the firms reportedly refused to cooperate in the early stages of the raids. Officers on the job dialed Delhi for clarity and the direction was straight and simple: “Get them.”

I-T teams’ meticulous preparation

The teams that landed in Hyderabad had done such meticulous homework that they straight proceeded to a ramshackle shed on a huge piece of open land around Jubilee Hills, where trunk-loads of “benami documents” were stored.

When they confronted the top honchos of the real estate firms with the documents, there was nothing they could hide and spilled the beans.

While the obvious intention behind the raids is to choke monetary support to the ruling TRS, sources said Delhi would like to tread cautiously so as not to give a handle to the party leadership to whip up sympathy.

If at all any TRS party leader gets exposed in the process, it is also unlikely that the state government will do anything to protect the bureaucrats. On the contrary, it’s more than possible that they get slammed first.

Buzz in corridors of power

The corridors of power are also abuzz with talk about how a few bureaucrats milked the system unmindful or indifferent about the consequences. Lower-rung officers are openly talking of “investments” by higher-ups abroad and of collecting money citing that as a reason.

I-T officials are also probing how lands under litigation were cleared at super-quick speed by officials and the motives behind them. One of them pertains to a 50 acres-plus chunk of land in the posh Jubilee Hills which was declared as “government lands” for decades, but orders were issued recently in favour of a private party.

This was first reported by the newspaper Deccan Chronicle.

In a nutshell, the recent raids and the ones likely to follow are expected to cause enough headache not just to politicians and businessmen, but engulf the bureaucracy as well.