TAMIL NADU

Gold, silver seized from ex-DMK MLA's lockers: DVAC

CHENNAI OCT. 10. The Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption has claimed that it seized more gold jewellery and silver articles from two lockers, said to belong to the former DMK MLA, C. Shanmugham alias Cantonment Shanmugham, in a ``disproportionate wealth case''.

A total of 1.9 kg of gold jewellery and 5.5 kg of silver articles were seized from a couple of his lockers, a DVAC official told The Hindu, when contacted.

Based on a preliminary enquiry into the allegation that Mr. Shanmugham had acquired, during his tenure as MLA during 1996-2001, assets to the tune of about Rs. 8 crores, in his name and in the names of his son and two daughters, the agency conducted searches on seven premises, including four cinemas, at St.Thomas Mount and Nanganallur here, Chennai city, Kancheepuram and Tindivanam on Tuesday last.

Besides incriminating documents on acquisition of immovable and movable assets, 217 sovereigns of gold jewellery were found in the bank lockers, the directorate said.

Three more lockers were not opened the same day. A search of two lockers of Mr. Shanmugam in a nationalised bank at St.Thomas Mount on a later date yielded 1.9 kg of gold ornaments and silver articles.

The other locker did not contain anything incriminating.

Veerasamy property evaluation

Meanwhile, officials of the DVAC and the Public Works department today conducted an evaluation of four pieces of property, as part of investigation of the ``Rs. 20-crore disproportionate wealth case'' against the former DMK Minister, Arcot N. Veerasamy, at Annanagar here. One of the buildings was multistoreyed. Four buildings located at Annanagar, Kilpauk and Royapettah were already evaluated a few days ago.

Continuing the work, the teams today assessed the value of the four more buildings, stated to belong to the former Minister, his brother and his in-laws.

After the evaluation work was completed, recording of witness statements would begin. In July, the DVAC conducted searches on nine premises in the city, Tiruvallur district, Vellore, Coimbatore and Hyderabad in connection with the case.