The gutkha scam in Tamil Nadu

Stalin demands inquiry by CBI into gutkha scam

DMK working president M.K. Stalin on Friday demanded a CBI inquiry into the alleged payments made to a Tamil Nadu Minister, two top police officials and others to facilitate the sale of banned tobacco products in the State.

Referring to The Hindu report titled “I-T Dept did hand over gutkha scam report to Chief Secretary”, he said that the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC) may not be in a position to investigate the matter in a free and fair manner, since Chief Secretary Girija Vaidyanathan herself had informed the Madras High Court that the State government had not received any letter from the Income Tax Department on the multi-crore gutkha scandal in July last year.

“A CBI inquiry alone will bring out the truth behind the payment of ₹40 crore and the tax evasion to the tune of ₹250 crore,” he said.

The Hindu had reported that the Principal Director of Income Tax (Investigation) B.R. Balakrishnan had on August 12, 2016, met then Chief Secretary P.S. Rama Mohana Rao at the latter’s chamber in the Secretariat, and handed over a report dated August 11, 2016 to him.

“It is a million-dollar question as to how the Chief Secretary agreed to promote a police officer who was facing charges in connection with banned tobacco products. It is also a mystery as to why the Centre and the Union Public Service Commission gave their nod even though they had placed on record, in the Supreme Court, that extension of service would not be given to retired officials,” he said, adding, “The Chief Secretary’s claim in the High Court was highly condemnable as it had sought to cover up the scam.”

‘Attempt to save Minister’

Meanwhile, PMK founder Dr. S. Ramadoss alleged that there was an attempt to shield State Health Minister C. Vijaya Baskar and other police officials from the gutkha scam.

The Hindu has revealed that there is enough evidence to suggest that the I-T department had sent a letter to the State government. It reveals that the report was presented to the then DGP Ashok Kumar, and an acknowledgement for the same was obtained,” he pointed out.

“Despite documentary evidence, the State government has consistently maintained that nothing has happened,” he said.

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Printable version | Nov 29, 2021 12:13:12 PM |

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