A video of jewellery and gold recovered by Tamil Nadu police is being shared with a false claim that it shows gold and cash recovered during an Income Tax raid on Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD) board member J Sekhar Reddy.
BOOM found that the viral video shows the gold and jewelley recovered by police following a theft at a Jos Alukkas showroom in Vellore, Tamil Nadu. We also found that Reddy was investigated in 2016 and in raid on one of his properties, a huge array of gold and cash was seized.
A caption with the viral video reads 'Dear Tirupati Tirumala Bhaktas! Ur Donation & Gold is with J.Shekar Reddy, 1 of 17 Trustees. IT officers raided his home & was caught with ₹106 Crore Cash,127Kg Gold and ₹ 10 Cr worth New Rs.2000 notes. What about other 16 trustees of TTD. Is it used for conversion?'.
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The video is also viral with similar claims in Hindi and Kannada.
Several Facebook users posted the video and some screenshots of the incident with a claim saying the gold were discovered recently from a raid at the house of a priest working at Tirupati.
BOOM also received a query about the video on its WhatsApp helpline number.
We then ran a keyword search on Twitter and found a December 20 tweet by News 18 Tamil Nadu's Input editor Mahalingam Ponnusamy with a video similar to the viral one.
"Vellore district police arrested a burglar, who drilled hole into Vellore Jos Alukkas jewellery store wall, decamped with 15kg gold and diamond jewels."
BOOM contacted Vellore's Additional Superintendent of Police (ADSP) KS Sundaramoorthy and Joint Superintendent of Police Albert John to get more details about the viral video.
Sundaramoorthy confirmed to us that the claim with the viral video is false. "It is a theft case that took place in Vellore's Jos Alukkas showroom. One accused was arrested in this case," he told BOOM.
John reiterated the ADSP's statement and added that the stolen jewellery was recovered from a burial ground on December 21.
According to a report published in The Hindu report on December 21, 2021, the Vellore police had arrested one person identified as 23-year-old T. K. Raman, 23, a resident of Kuchipalayam village near Pallikonda and 16 kg of gold and diamond jewellery, estimated at Rs 8 crore was recovered from him.
The report further stated that the stolen items were recovered from a graveyard in Odugathur.
J Sekhar Reddy Case
We did a keyword search on J Sekhar Reddy and found news reports from 2016 about a raid on a property belonging to him.
A news report published in Deccan Chronicle on December 9, 2016 stated that Rs 100 crore in cash and 120 kg of gold was seized during an Income Tax department raid on 'residences and offices owned by TTD Board member J. Sekhar Reddy, who is also a public works department contractor in Chennai and Vellore'.
The Andhra Pradesh government later removed J Sekhar Reddy from the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) board following the seizure of enormous cash.
However, in 2019 the AP government nominated Reddy as a special invitee to the Board of Trustees, Tirumala Tirupathi Devasthanams. Later, in September 2020 a special CBI court gave clean chit to Reddy in the 2016 IT raids case 'on grounds of lack of evidence'.
Claim : Video shows Income Tax officers recovered crores of cash and gold from Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams board member J. Sekhar Reddy.
Claimed By : Social Media Users
Fact Check : False