A video claiming to show cash, jewellery and other valuables recovered during an IT department raid at J Shekar Reddy’s home who is one of the trustees of Tirupati Tirumala Devasthanam is being widely shared on social media platforms. The viral post claims that 127 kg gold, cash worth crores and other jewels were seized by IT officers during a raid at Reddy’s home. However, the viral video is misleading and not related to any raids conducted at the TTD trustee’s home.
Several social media users shared the video on Facebook claiming that in addition to the gold, IT dept also seized Rs 106 crores in cash and 60 crores worth diamond.
Twitter users have also shared the video with similar claims regarding recovery of gold and cash worth crores from Reddy’s home during an IT raid.
J Shekar Reddy Faced IT Raids In 2016
Notably, properties of J. Shekar Reddy and his associates were raided by the IT officials back in 2016 after demonetisation. According to a report by the Hindu, dated December 10, 2016, “One hundred taxmen started their search operations on Thursday at eight different locations in Chennai connected with three men, to probe a suspected money laundering racket. By end of day on Friday, the Income Tax department had seized Rs. 96.89 crore in demonetised notes, Rs. 9.63 crore in Rs. 2000 notes and gold weighing 127 kg worth Rs. 36.29 crore from the three men – J Sekhar Reddy, K Sreenivasulu and Prem.” Several news sites including the Indian Express, Deccan Chronicle, The News Minute and others had reported on these raids.
However, Reddy and five others were given clean chit in this matter in 2020 and the case was dismissed. A report by the Times Of India, dated September 28, 2020, “The XIth additional city civil and sessions judge court dealing with CBI cases relating to banks and financial institutions gave a clean chit and dismissed a case against TTD trust board member J Sekhar Reddy and 5 others on grounds of lack of evidence.”
According to a report by The Hindu, dated September 29, 2020, “The Central Bureau of Investigation has found no evidence to prosecute industrialist and Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) member J. Sekar alias Sekar Reddy and five others in the sensational cash seizure case of 2016. Almost four years after registering the case, the agency filed a closure report in the trial court, stating that “nothing incriminating surfaced” against the accused persons.”
Newschecker conducted a search using InVid tool and a google image search of screenshots taken from the viral video to verify its authenticity and came across a similar image published in a report by Indian Express regarding a robbery in a jewellery storeroom in Tamil Nadu’s Vellore.
According to the Indian Express report, dated December 22, 2021, Jos Alukkas jewellery storeroom in Vellore was robbed on December 15, 2021 and the police claimed that they have cracked the case after an arrest was made. The police had recovered 15.9 kg of stolen gold and diamonds worth Rs 8 crore from a burial ground in Odukathur.
On searching keywords like ‘Vellore Jewellery Robbery’, ‘Vellore Robbery’, ‘Jos Alukkas robbery’ on YouTube, we came across a video posted by BBC News Tamil which had same visuals has the viral video being shared with the claim about IT raids at Reddy’s home. In both the videos, gold jewellery pieces can be seen displayed over a blue velvet sheet.
Newschecker team also came across a tweet by ASP Vellore. The tweet read, “What a chase! After successful closure of ‘Amma Biriyani’ case worth 250 svrns of gold, with arrest of Rayapati Vengiah & recovery, another gem from @VellorePolice. ‘Jos Alukkas’ theft booty of 16 kg/ 2000 svrns gold worth Rs 8.5 crore recovered and accused secured within a week.”
The viral video claiming to show cash, jewellery and other valuables recovered during a raid by IT officers at TTD trustee J Shekar Reddy’s home is misleading. The visuals are from a Vellore Police’s press conference after they recovered jewellery robbed from a showroom.
The Hindu: https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/Behind-cash-and-gold-seized-in-Chennai-IT-raids-lies-a-tale-of-many-big-contracts/article16786997.ece; https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/no-evidence-against-sekar-reddy/article32719576.ece
YouTube Channel Of BBC Tamil News
Twitter Account Of ASP Vellore
(This article was originally published in Newschecker Hindi)
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