After Kanimozhi, raids on AIADMK, AMMK
The raids came a day after I-T and EC officials raided the office and residence of senior Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) leader Kanimozhi in Thoothukudi. Police detained five AMMK workers for stopping officials from going into the party office in Theni district’s Andipatti, where a bypoll is scheduled on Thursday.Updated: Apr 18, 2019 23:27 IST
A day before Tamil Nadu goes to the polls, officials from the income tax (I-T) department and the Election Commission’s flying squad raided three places in Tamil Nadu, including the premises of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) and the Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK), on Wednesday.
The raids came a day after I-T and EC officials raided the office and residence of senior Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) leader Kanimozhi in Thoothukudi. Police detained five AMMK workers for stopping officials from going into the party office in Theni district’s Andipatti, where a bypoll is scheduled on Thursday. The raid began late on Tuesday and ended in the early hours of Wednesday.
“After we got information that a huge amount of unaccounted cash has been kept in a shop owned by an AMMK worker, we raided it. During the nine-hour-long raid, the I-T department seized the cash packed in 92 covers,” said Pallavi Baldev, returning officer and Theni district collector. I-T department’s director general (investigations) B Murali Kumar said, “Sworn statement of the person present in the premises was recorded and he said ~2 crore in cash was brought in there for distribution to voters in the Andipatti panchayat union area on April 16.”
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“When I-T and EC officials tried to access the premises, a gang blocked them. A few also tried for run-away with cash bundles. Therefore, the police force which accompanied the officials opened fire in the air as a precautionary measure,” Baldev said. No one was injured in the firing. A detailed report has been sent to EC and I-T department in New Delhi, she added. The AMMK’s Andipatti bypoll candidate, K Jayakumar, denied the charge and said the cash was seized from an AIADMK office.
Later in the day, the EC flying squad searched the AIADMK election office at ward number 82 in souther Tamil Nadu’s Madurai city. “With a tip-off received from a source, we raided AIADMK’s ward number 82 election office in Madurai city. During the raid, unaccounted Rs 2,000 denominations have been seized. We have retrieved a voters list from the office,” said an EC officer on the condition of anonymity. In a separate raid, I-T officials seized Rs 48 lakh from AMMK’s Sattur assembly bypoll candidate Subramaniyan’s premises in Virudhunagar district. “We raided the guest house and election offices of Subramaniyan. As we recovered unaccounted cash to the tune of Rs 48 lakh, we have extended the raid in Subramanian’s residence at Sattur town,” said an official on condition of anonymity. Meanwhile, a number of opposition leaders, including Andhra Pradesh chief minister Chandrababu Naidu and his Bengal counterpart Mamata Banerjee, came out in support of Kanimozhi and blamed the central government. “For the first time since Independence, we have a leader like the prime minister who is ruling the country by a reign of fear,” Banerjee said.
I-T officials searched the premises of a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader in Uttara Kannada district’s Karwar town on Tuesday and seized Rs 82.7 lakh in cash and 500 grams of gold, a senior officer confirmed. The leader, Esale, or Krishna Rama Devadiga, is the district general secretary of the BJP. Union minister Ananth Kumar Hegde, who is the Uttara Kannada candidate, was unavailable for comment.
Raids by the I-T department have become a sticking point in the state, with leaders of the Congress-JD(S) coalition, which is in power in the state, accusing the department of bias.