Hyderabad: High drama unfolded on the second day of the Income-Tax (I-T) Department raids on properties owned by Telangana state minister Chamakura Malla Reddy and his family members, with the minister alleging that his nephew had to be admitted to hospital over injuries inflicted by armed personnel accompanying the I-T sleuths.
“Praveen (the nephew) was beaten up badly and he has an injury on his hand. They brought him to the hospital secretly during the night and took him back forcefully. This is how you conduct searches,” a visibly shaken Malla Reddy said at the hospital.
Malla Reddy’s elder son, Mahender Reddy, was also admitted to the family-owned Malla Reddy Narayana Hospital in Suraram of Jeedimetla. With the admission of the minister’s son and nephew, the hospital turned into a fortress as Central forces took control of the premises.
The minister came down heavily on the security personnel, alleging that his son and nephew were in a bad shape due to harassment by officials and the armed guards.
Videos of the minister instructing his followers to “chase these fellows (I-T officials)”, using cuss words, were also widely circulated.
However, by evening, the minister took supporters by surprise by reversing his stance on the raids. Appealing to his supporters not to disrupt searches, he said they must not protest as the officials “were doing their job” and assured them that he was clean.
Sources said that on Wednesday, a large amount of unaccounted cash, documentary evidence of funds flowing into family-owned institutions and hospitals, and information about 10 lockers at Kranthi Co-Op Urban Bank in Balanagar owned by the family was unearthed. Searches were also conducted at Vardhaman Engineering College, where a family member is a director.
While political sources and social media were abuzz with rumours that around `8 crore was seized in the two days of search, the I-T Department did not release any official statement. The search is expected to continue on Thursday.
Earlier in the day, doctors at the Malla Reddy hospital told mediapersons that Mahender was unable to speak during the time of admission, but that his condition improved and is stable. He is being treated for pain in his left shoulder and chest, they said.
The minister’s younger daughter-in-law, Preethi Reddy, said Mahender was under observation and needed rest, but refused to comment on the allegation of attack by the central armed personnel.
Malla Reddy left the hospital in the morning and returned at noon, accompanied by MLA Vivekananda, MLA Shambhipur Raju and other TRS leaders.
Addressing mediapersons, Vivekananda claimed the searches were a witch-hunt sponsored by the BJP.
“The family runs several institutions and if there are any issues in the accounting, that would be cleared as per the procedure. But, this kind of harassment is unwarranted,” he said.
Scores of TRS workers continued to protest outside the hospital, raising slogans against the I-T raids....