The Income-Tax Department on Friday launched another round of search operations on premises owned by a prominent construction firm based in Namakkal district, and other premises across the state owned by private financiers and suspected handlers of black money.
While previous searches were on premises of opposition DMK leaders, sources in the I-T Department said Friday’s raids were on premises whose owners allegedly have links with ruling AIADMK as well.
The development comes a day after Tamil Nadu’s Chief Electoral Officer sent a report to the Election Commission of India (EC) about the I-T searches and cash seizure from DMK veteran S Duraimurugan’s residence.
All 39 Lok Sabha constituencies in Tamil Nadu go to polls on April 18.
A senior I-T officer said on Friday they conducted searches at 18 locations, including the premises of PSK Engineering Construction Company in Namakkal, based on an information that the firm had unaccounted cash. Besides at least five locations in Namakkal, premises linked to a few individuals in Chennai and Tirunelveli were also reportedly searched.
The I-T officer said, “We received preliminary information about movement of cash bundles for the past four days for distribution (among voters). Reliable information was received on Wednesday about a huge amount being moved in multiple locations across the state — all within a 100-km radius — before the polling day. We (therefore) launched searches. Suspicious role of some police vehicles used to transfer cash was also reported earlier this week.”
The officer also said, “A prominent party seems to have decided last week to pay Rs 4,000 per vote in all Assembly seats where by-elections are being held. This is being probed, as they had suspicious links to some of the individuals who came under the (I-T Department’s) radar on Thursday.”
On Thursday, state’s Chief Electoral Officer Satyabrata Sahoo sent a detailed report to the EC on background and evidence regarding alleged seizure of Rs 10.5 lakh from the residence of Duraimurugan, treasurer of the DMK, and his son Kathir Anand, the opposition’s candidate from Vellore Lok Sabha seat.