Kushalnagar: Kushalnagar residents witnessed a convoy of 30 decorated cars including Sports Utility Vehicles (SUV) passing through the streets this morning and they assumed that it was a marriage party of some rich man. Only later it dawned upon them that the occupants of the cars were sleuths from the Income Tax (I-T) Department who were in the town for a series of raids.
A group of over 100 I-T sleuths divided into 12 teams arrived in Kushalnagar to raid SLN Group and other properties owned by Tamil-Nadu based brothers Vishwanathan and Sathappan. Sources said that the brothers are related to former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram and his son Karti Chidambaram.
Sources said that the Mysuru Police had provided security to the I-T team as the I-T sleuths had informed them about the raids and had requested for security. So secretive were raids that the local Police who also assisted the I-T team did not even have a clue about the businessmen who were being raided.
It was only after they arrived at the SLN Coffee (P) Limited and other properties including coffee estates owned by the group that the Police got to know about the raids.
All the cars had bouquets on their bonnets and were decorated with flowers, colourful stripes and even had posters with names of bride and bridegroom pasted on windshields, just to misguide the local people and also the Police officers about the raids.
The officers raided the properties of SLN Group including a coffee processing unit, an instant coffee works unit located in the Karnataka Industrial Area Development Board (KIADB) Industrial Area at Kudlur, a petrol bunk and a saw mill located at Madapatna, SLN Eden Garden (a posh residential layout), Purple Palms Resort, a house located at Bollur near Guddehosur and a coffee estate at Pollibetta.
Sources said that SLN Group Managing Partners Vishwanathan and Sathappan are related to former Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram and the raids were a part of the continued operation carried out by the IT sleuths against Chidambaram and his son Karti since 2015.
Sources added that IT sleuths had recovered crucial documents which were being examined at the time we went to the press at 2.30 pm.