The Income Tax Department’s search operations on premises belonging to veteran DMK leader and state MLA Duraimurugan in Vellore led to seizures amounting to Rs 9 crore in bundles of currency notes from a cement godown that allegedly belongs to one of his associates, according to sources.
The raids were conducted under the supervision of Madhu Mahajan (retired IRS officer of 1982 batch), who is the Election Commission’s Special Observer assigned to oversee election expenditure in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.
Half-a-dozen photos and videos of the seized items have been released by officials of the department.
“The raid came following a tip-off that a huge amount of currency were moved from Kingston College, owned by Duraimurugan, near Katpadi in Vellore, to the godown. The bundles of currency were stuffed in cartons and bags,” an I-T official maintained.
Duraimurugan has alleged that the raids were a political “conspiracy” before the elections, and claimed that he had nothing to hide from officers. DMK chief M K Stalin has called the development another incident of the Prime Minister’s Office allegedly abusing power by using central agencies.
The I-T Department is yet to release an official statement on the search and seizure operations, carried out on Saturday.
While I-T sleuths are in communication with police and the Election Commission over suspicion that the cash was meant for distribution among voters, an official confirmed Rs 10.50 lakh was seized during an earlier raid at Duraimurugan’s Vellore residence.
Maintaining that the cash was meant to be distributed to voters, the I-T official said, “We cannot reveal the denomination and other details of currency (seized in last week’s searches)… We have also seized details of voters and wards. We will follow up this case, if necessary, with the agencies concerned…”