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ACB raids spark panic: Cash, gold thrown out of windows

BENGALURU: The doorbell rang at 6am in TR Swamy’s flat on the 14th floor of Mantri Greens. The chief development officer (land acquisition) at Karnataka Industrial Areas Development Board (KIADB) thought it was the milkman or the newspaper vendor. He opened the door, then slammed it shut immediately when he saw men in khaki standing outside.

With an office in Khanija Bhavan on Race Course Road, where the ACB offices are also located, Swamy was aware of the agency’s standard operating procedure. There was high drama — including the public spectacle of discarded cash flying out of a ventilator — around the apartment complex for the next 45 minutes. Swamy and his family wrapped notes of Rs 2,000 denomination in large polythene bags and threw them out of a bathroom ventilator, investigators said.

Swamy then summoned a confidant, an auto driver, to help him dispose of incriminating evidence, they said. ACB sleuths caught him just as he was making away with the bags in a three-wheeler.
“We knew that Swamy would try to make the cash vanish,” a senior officer said. “He did not open the door for more than 50 minutes. He finally relented when we told him that we would break open the door with police. We knew that inside the flat, the occupants were frantically trying to get rid of evidence. The auto driver had arrived by then, so it was clear what Swamy had in mind.”

When the ACB sleuths raided the Mantri Greens flat of Swamy’s elder sister, she threw gold and other valuables out of a window of the 15th floor apartment. “She wrapped some valuables in clothes and also placed some in a leather bag,” an investigating officer said. “She claimed that she had purchased the valuables legally and that the sight of the ACB officers rattled her so she hurled them out of her flat. If she produces the bills and relevant documents, we will return the ornaments.”

The bundles landed on the ground floor and her brother’s confidant loaded it in an autorickshaw but ACB sleuths confiscated the vehicle with the valuables.

The raids triggered a similar reaction at Gowdaiah’s residence, where family members refused to open the door. “They saw us through peephole in the door and refused to open the door, claiming that we were not ACB officers,” another officer said. “They opened the door only after we warned that we would enter by force.”

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