The Income Tax department, in its first biggest seizure of unaccounted cash in Tamil Nadu, on Friday seized more than Rs 10 crore from the Adiparasakthi temple in Melmaravathur, around 80 kilometres from here.
The raid on the premises under Section 132 of the Income Tax Act was based on information regarding the stocking up of a large amount of black money in the temple run by self-proclaimed godman Bangaru Adigal. The cash was seized from his house on the temple premises, an official said.
"The money was stacked up in the bureau inside his house and he could not provide any account for it. So we seized it. The counting of the currency seized is still on and it could be well beyond Rs 10 crore," an income tax official told The Times Of India.
Several teams were formed for the search and survey operations. Apart from the Adiparasakthi temple, which runs a medical college, an engineering college and an agricultural college in Kalavai, Kancheepuram, the IT department sleuths also carried out raids in colleges owned by prominent politicians.
Among the institutions raided were St. Peters College and Dr MGR Deemed University, which has several institutions under its fold, in Chennai, Rajalakshmi Engineering College near Poonamallee, Pratyusha Engineering College in Tiruvallur district and Sri Krishna Engineering College in Coimbatore. In all 45 institutions were raided in places like Chennai, Arani, Kodaikanal, Cochin, Bangalore, Coimbatore and New Delhi.
The Income Tax officials are said to have found Rs 7.5 crore capitation fee allegedly collected by Sri Krishna Engineering College from a bank account in Coimbatore and seized it. They also seized Rs. 1.5 crore in cash during the raid on the college premises.
Income Tax additional director (investigation) S Ravichandran, in a press note here said that more than 500 personnel had been deployed for these search operations which commenced at 11.30 am and continued till late evening.
He said during the raid receipts of capitation fee collected by these educational institutions have been seized.