The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Wednesday launched a massive search operation and raided at least 40 places in Tamil Nadu in connection with the Gutka scam.
The residences of Tamil Nadu Director General Police (DGP) TK Rajendran at Mogappair, ex-DGP S George near Maduravoyal, Health Minister C Vijayabaskar and other police officers are also being searched.
The CBI officials said the searches are spread across the state but did not reveal exact locations at this stage, saying it may hamper the ongoing operations.
The scam came to light on July 8, 2017, when income tax sleuths raided the godown, offices and residences of a pan masala and gutka (a concoction of tobacco and pan masala) manufacturer in Tamil Nadu, who had been facing charges of tax evasion to the tune of Rs 250 crore.
The manufacture, storage and sale of the chewable forms of tobacco, including gutka and pan masala were banned by the Tamil Nadu government in 2013.
During the raids, the department had seized a diary containing names of those who had been allegedly paid by the gutka manufacturers. The case was sent to the CBI by the Madras High Court in April this year on the plea of a DMK leader.
The agency had registered an FIR against unidentified officials of the Tamil Nadu government, Central Excise Department and the Food Safety Department in May.