Photo doesn’t show Rs. 42 crore being seized from Bengaluru contractor’s home

By: Annet Preethi Furtado
October 19 2023

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Photo doesn’t show Rs. 42 crore being seized from Bengaluru contractor’s home

Screenshot of a social media post that claims to show a photo of IT officials seizing Rs 42 crore from a house linked with the VP of BBMP Contractor's Association. (Source: Facebook/Screenshot/Modified by Logically Facts)


The Verdict Misleading

A 2021 image from Uttar Pradesh is being shared as a recent raid at properties linked to the president of the BBMP Contractors' Association.

Claim ID 7af41e44

On October 13, Bengaluru's Income Tax (IT) department initiated search and seizure operations targeting several prominent contractors in Karnataka. Hindustan Times reported that IT officials reportedly uncovered about Rs. 42 crores amount of cash in an apartment building that is allegedly linked to R. Ambikapathy, who serves as the president of the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) Contractors' Association and is the vice-president of the Karnataka Contractors' Association.

What's the claim?

Several social media posts have shared an image featuring five men sitting on a sheet in a room, surrounded by stacks of cash and two note-counting machines next to a locker. This image is being shared in connection with the recent raid at a property linked to Ambikapathy without mentioning him by name.

On Facebook, a user shared the image along with a caption in Kannada claiming that IT officials have seized 42 crore cash from the home of the vice president of BBMP Contractors Association who is a "close aide of a senior Congress leader," and his wife - a former corporator of Congress - who earlier falsely accused the previous Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Karnataka of taking 40% commission for approving government projects. The archived post can be found here.

Screenshot of a Facebook post (Source: Facebook/Screenshot/Modified by Logically Facts)

Similar posts were also circulated on X, with one such post by BJP leader CT Ravi receiving over 7,000 views. The archived post can be seen here.

Screenshot of an X post by BJP leader CT Ravi. (Source: X/Screenshot/Modified by Logically Facts)

However, while IT officials did find about Rs. 42 crore at a residence linked to Ambikapathy, the image in the post is unrelated to this incident.

What are the facts?

On conducting a reverse image search, we found that multiple news reports featured the image in December 2021, reporting on IT department raids at a Kanpur-based perfume trader's residence and the recovery of Rs. 284 crore in cash. This image was widely featured in reports by various media outlets, including The Indian Express and The Times of India in 2021.

Screenshot of an image featured in The Indian Express report from 2021, showing cash discovered during Income Tax searches at a property belonging to Piyush Jain (Source: Indian Express/Screenshot/ Modified by Logically Facts)

The 2021 report by the Times of India stated that officials from the Directorate General of GST Intelligence (DGGI) in Ahmedabad arrested Piyush Jain, a perfume trader based in Kanpur, after the recovery of Rs. 284 crore from his residences in Kanpur and Kannauj. The DGGI sources revealed that the search operations led to the finding of Rs. 177 crore in cash at Jain's residence in Anandnagar, Kanpur, and an additional Rs. 107 crore in unaccounted cash at his residence in Kannauj. 

Furthermore, it was reported that an officer involved in the probe stated that Jain was arrested for tax evasion and generating multiple invoices under the names of fictitious companies.

The raid on the Bengaluru contractor

The Hindu reported on the discovery of cash during IT searches at properties linked to the contractor in Bengaluru in October 2023. The report also featured an image showing the recovered cash in cardboard boxes near a bed, and the image was credited to "Special Arrangement."

Screenshot of a picture featured in The Hindu, illustrating cash discovered during Income Tax searches at properties connected to contractor Ambikapathy in Bengaluru. (Source: The Hindu/Screenshot)

Further, it reported that sources indicated that the money was concealed in more than 20 cardboard boxes and hidden beneath a bed in an apartment in Sultanpalya, Bengaluru, where Pradeep, a close relative of Ambikapathy, resided. The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has commenced a preliminary inquiry into the case due to the significant cash recovery, the report added.

The verdict

The viral image, showing five men surrounded by cash and note-counting machines in front of a locker, is not from a recent raid from a house associated with a Bengaluru contractor. The image is from a separate incident that took place in December 2021 in Uttar Pradesh involving a raid on a perfume trader's residence where a substantial cash amount was seized.

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