In a big twist to the multi-crore gutkha scam probe, the CBI on Wednesday conducted raids at the residences of Health Minister C Vijayabaskar, DGP T K Rajendran, former city Police Commissioner S George and others.
The searches began around 7 am with a special team from Delhi conducting the operation at over 40 places in the city and other parts of the state.
The raids were also being conducted at the residence of
former Minister B Ramana and at the premises of a departmental store owner at Villuppuram.
Special teams, from CBI’s Anti Corruption-III Unit from New Delhi, were involved in the raids. This was for the first time the CBI was conducting searches in the
residence of a DGP in the State.
“We are conducting raids on the residences of the Tamil Nadu DGP, State Health Minister and 30 others places in Tamil Nadu in connection with the case relating to the gutkha scam,” a CBI spokesperson told The Hindu.
Searches were also on against an IRS (Customs) officer and certain officials of the Food Safety and Sales Tax departments in Chennai, it is said.
The raids come a year after the scam came to light. In April this year, the Madras High Court ordered that the CBI probe the case. The central investigation body took over the case from the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption.
In July 8 2017, raids were conducted at the godown, offices and residences of a pan masala and gutkha manufacturer in Tamil Nadu, who was facing charges of evading tax to the tune of Rs 250 crore.
Seized during the raid was a diary containing names of those who were believed to have been paid off by the gutkha manufacturers– and one among them was allegedly the state’s health minister.