Officials of the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption on Thursday conducted simultaneous searches on the premises of former Minister and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK)'s Salem district secretary Veerapandi S. Arumugam and his relatives in 16 places, including in Chennai and Salem.
According to an official release, a discreet enquiry was ordered based on allegations that Mr. Arumugam had accumulated assets in his name and also in the name of his family members between May 15, 2006 and May 13, 2011 when he was Agriculture Minister.
The investigation revealed that the former Minister had accumulated assets to the tune of Rs. 2.88 crore which was disproportionate to his known sources of income. After registering a case against Mr. Arumugam under the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, the DVAC conducted searches on the premises of Mr. Arumugam, his family members and associates, the release added.
In Salem, DVAC's Coimbatore ADSP D. Shanmugapriya led the search by a15-member team at the former Minister's residence at his native village Poolavari.
The DMK leader, his son and former MLA A. Rajendiran and his family members were present at the house during the nearly five-hour operation.
As the news of the searches spread, cadre of the DMK thronged the house and raised slogans against the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam regime.
In Dharmapuri, the DVAC conducted a search in the residence of Mr. Arumugam's daughter Nirmala Mathivanan at Appavu Nagar.
After the search at his residence, the former Minister told reporters that “questions raised by officers were answered and they did not take any documents with them.”
However, a senior police official said the team seized a few documents in connection with the appointments of assistants in noon meal centres when Mr. Arumugam was Minister.
The DMK leader, describing the search as a “political vendetta” by the present government, said it was on expected lines.