Tamil Nadu

‘Seized papers reveal hand of Ministers’

The Income Tax Department on Saturday sent a report to the chairman of the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) detailing the searches carried out on Friday, which revealed the route of distribution of ₹ 89 crore by the AIADMK (Amma) to voters in R.K. Nagar, which goes to by-poll on April 12.

The CBDT will submit a report to the Election Commission of India.

According to one of the documents released to the media, ₹89.65 crore was routed through Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami and five of his senior Cabinet colleagues — K.A. Sengottaiyan, Dindigul C. Srinivasan, P. Thangamani, S.P. Velumani and D. Jayakumar and Rajya Sabha MP R. Vaithilingam, covering 85% of the electorate in R.K. Nagar. Party deputy general secretary T.T.V. Dhinakaran is contesting from the constituency. Other documents revealed the supply chain below from these party in-charges for the by-election. The calculations indicate that each vote was priced at an average of ₹4,000.

At least one leaked document was related to payments received and paid by S. Geethalakshmi, Vice- Chancellor of Tamil Nadu Dr. MGR Medical University, during November 2016.

I-T senior officials confirmed that the documents in circulation were seized during the searches conducted at more than 30 locations, mostly from the premises of State Health Minister C. Vijayabaskar. “We are examining how the Ministers got the funds. In the absence of a satisfactory explanation, they will be taxed,” said a senior I-T officer examining the case.

IT officials also claimed that Mr. Vijayabaskar was a silent partner in sand baron Sekhar Reddy’s firm SRS Mining.

“He has not shown those details in his accounts and we are verifying that. This will be also taxed,” an officer said.

With regard to the VC of Dr MGR Medical University, Dr. Geethalakshmi, the taxmen said that several incriminating documents have been found and preliminary analysis show that the money is unaccounted for. “Money has been given and taken for transfers, postings and few tenders.”

When asked how the documents were leaked, IT officials said that they had to face a volatile crowd at some places during the raids and some of the assembled persons were trying to grab the seized documents and run way.

“We immediately took photos in our cell phones and maybe someone leaked it,” an officer said.

The taxmen also said that at R.K.Nagar residents were not allowing IT officials to question or talk, instead they got aggressive and asked what was their problem if people took cash for votes.

‘CM should resign’

Meanwhile, DMK working president M.K. Stalin said Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami should step down from his post owning responsibility for the money distribution and irregularities committed by his cabinet colleagues.

Demanding the removal of all Ministers involved in money distribution in R.K.Nagar by-poll, he said the CBI should file cases against Health Minister C. Vijya Basakar, whose house was raided by IT officials.

In a statement here, he said all Ministers involved in irregularities should be barred from contesting elections in the future as the media had already released evidence collected during IT raids.

At Ramanathapuram, BJP senior leader L Ganesan said the party has nothing to do with the IT raids. Talking to reporters, Mr. Ganesan said “The outcome of the raids would be made public soon.”

(With inputs from B. Kolappan and D.J. Walter Scott)

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Printable version | May 4, 2021 10:51:53 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/seized-papers-reveal-hand-of-ministers/article17895186.ece

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