I-T raids against Tamil Nadu Health Minister, others; Vijayabasker says it`s 'harassment'
Tamil Nadu Health Minister C Vijayabasker is a prominent loyalist of AIADMK (Amma) faction's candidate TTV Dinakaran.
Chennai: The Income Tax Department officials on Friday raided Tamil Nadu Health Minister C Vijayabasker's residence here and premises of his associates, an official said.
The Income Tax sleuths also launched a search at premises of at least one MLA in connection with a tax evasion probe.
Raids were also conducted at actor Sarathkumar's house, the senior I-T official told news agency IANS on condition of anonymity.
He said: "Trigger for raids at Vijayabasker's residence is the money distributed to voters in RK Nagar constituency where bypoll is slated on April 12.”
The officer said the Minister was on the Income Tax radar for the past one year in connection with his quarry business.
Meanwhile, the Tamil Nadu health minister said that he was unnecessarily being harassed.
"I am innocent and have done no wrong. They are unnecessarily harassing me and my children. They have not allowed my child to go to school," he told reporters outside his residence.
The minister further alleged: “They found nothing, not even Rs 10,000 in my house. The raids are taking place based on O Panneerselvam's complaints. I am innocent."
Officials said the searches were being conducted at over 30 locations in the state including against certain medical professionals, pharma firms, and their executives.
Over 100 I-T sleuths along with security personnel are part of the operation, they said, adding premises related to officials of a medical university in the state are also being searched.
"The searches were being carried out in multiple locations, including Chennai and Pudukottai, following a tip-off about alleged tax evasion," a source told news agency PTI.
RK Nagar Assembly bypolls is scheduled to take place on April 12.
The seat fell vacant after the death of the then chief minister J Jayalalithaa and it is being viewed as a battle of prestige between the two factions of the AIADMK.
Vijayabasker is a prominent loyalist of AIADMK (Amma) faction's candidate TTV Dinakaran.
Vijayabasker, who is the first state minister to come under the lens of tax men, is among the key campaigners in the bypoll.
Officials said certain leads in the Sekhar Reddy case, the mining baron arrested for alleged financial irregularities post demonetisation, have also prompted the latest action.