Chennai–Taxmen on Saturday recovered 177 kg of gold and Rs 130 crore — of which Rs 34 crore was in new 2,000 rupee notes — in the biggest ever seizure in the country from three Tamil Nadu businessmen, including a government contractor, officials said.

In separate raids in Karnataka, taxmen seized Rs 5.7 crore in new 2,000 notes, Rs 90 lakh in old denomination and 32 kg of gold and jewellery from a secret locker in a bathroom, officials said in Bengaluru.

As the raids by the Income Tax department continued late on Saturday, an official in Chennai told IANS that the total seizure in the state was 177 kg of the precious metal and cash amounting to Rs 96 crore in withdrawn 500 and 1,000 rupee notes and Rs 34 crore in the new denomination.

As much as Rs 24 crore in Rs 2,000 notes was found stashed inside a car in Vellore. The seized cash will be deposited with the Reserve Bank of India.

The Income Tax department said recoveries were on on the third day of raids on three businessmen — J. Shekhar Reddy, Srinivasalu and Prem.

The big fish is said to be Reddy, from whose car the money was seized on Saturday. He is a contractor and has executed works for the Tamil Nadu government. He was also a Board Member of the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD). On Saturday, the Andhra Pradesh government removed him from the post following the raids and the seizure.

The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) on Friday said the IT department had seized Rs 96.89 crore cash in 500 and 1,000 rupee notes, and Rs 9.63 crore in new 2,000 currency along with gold weighing 127 kg worth approximately Rs 36.29 crore.

Searches were carried on at the premises of casino operators and bullion traders in Hubballi and Chitradurga districts of the state following a tip-off that black money was being converted into white through laundering and hoarding.

“When teams of sleuths searched 15 places in the two districts, (the) hawala operator was found converting old notes and hoarding bullion using demonetised Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes,” the official said.

Incriminating documents related to the illegal activities were also recovered during the raids and sent for analysing and investigating their content for evidence.

This is the second major haul of currency and gold this month in Karnataka. On December 1, tax sleuths seized Rs 6 crore in cash and 7 kg gold from the residences of two state government engineers in Bengaluru. (IANS)