Income Tax Department’s raids continue for second day at Siddhartha Medical College premises in Karnataka on Friday. The college is affiliated to Sri Siddhartha Academy of Higher Education, where former deputy chief minister of Karnataka G Parameshwara is the chancellor.
In the I-T raids conducted at Parameshwara’s residence and at two medical colleges linked to him, an estimated amount of Rs 4.52 crore cash was seized, a senior official said on Thursday.
Former union minister RL Jalappa’s house and a medical college associated with him were also searched.
As many as 30 premises were searched by the (I-T) Department as part of its investigation into alleged sale of government quota seats in the three institutes, officials said.
Two colleges are affiliated to Sri Siddhartha Academy of Higher Education, where Parameshwara is the chancellor. The third college is affiliated to Sri Devraj Urs Academy of Higher Education and Research, whose trust is headed by Jalappa.
Parameshwara’s family runs the Siddhartha Group of Institutions which was established by his father HM Gangadharaiah 58 years ago.
Since the colleges were deemed varsities, they were required to fill their seats through merit on NEET and did not have any local reservations, officials said. Of the 300 seats in the three colleges, 189 were allotted to students.
As per process, the candidates are admitted even if they have already taken admission elsewhere. The ones who already studying in colleges also take admission to block the seats. Later, they are asked to drop off post the mop up round in NEET counselling, after which colleges are allowed a free hand to admit students of their choice.
The merit rounds stop at one lakh rank threshold, however, in one case the officials found that a candidate with 8.2 rank was admitted in one of these colleges. The colleges auctioned the seats for Rs 50-60 lakh, an official said, on condition of anonymity.
Of these 189 seats, around 60 were allotted to candidates from Rajasthan, who dropped out subsequently. As a result, the official said, they were also looking at a larger conspiracy.
The raids at 30 locations in Karnataka caused alarm in the Congress ranks as the nature of searches was unclear on Thursday morning. Prior to that, Parameshwara had held a press conference in the morning where he said he welcomed the searches. “If raids are being conducted on the educational institutions I have no objection. Let them look at all the documents,” Parameshwara said. However, he could not be reached for a comment after officials entered his residence.
“The series of IT raids on @DrParameshwara, RL Jalappa & others, are politically motivated with malafide intention. They are only targeting @INCKarnataka leaders as they have failed to face us on policy & corruption issues. We won’t budge to any such tactics!!” former chief minister Siddaramaiah tweeted.
The raids come two years after former minister DK Shivakumar was raided after he sheltered MLAs from Gujarat ahead of crucial Rajya Sabha elections in the western state at the time. The Congress leader is currently in jail in connection with a money laundering case being pursued by the Enforcement Directorate against him based on information gathered during I-T raids.
Oct 11, 2019 09:58 IST