The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) today (5 September) raided as many as 40 properties belonging to various public officials in Tamil Nadu suspected of involvement in Gutka Scam, Deccan Herald has reported.
The CBI carried out extensive searches at around 40 locations in Tamil Nadu, including at the residences of Tamil Nadu's Health Minister C Vijayabhaskar, Director General of Police T K Rajendran, former minister B V Ramana and former Chennai Police Commissioner S George.
Gutka was banned in Tamil Nadu in May 2013. It is alleged that kickbacks were paid by manufacturers of tobacco-based products to Vijayabhaskar, Rajendran and George for allowing illegal sale of tobacco-based products despite the ban. George has served as Chennai Police Commissioner in three different terms.
The Gukta Scam came to light in August 2016 when Income-Tax Department conducted searches at the home of Madhava Rao. Rao owns the MDM brand of gutkha. IT officials recovered a diary that had details of bribes being allegedly paid to various government officials and ministers.
The Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC) launched a probe into the scam and booked junior-level officers in the case. However, after a petition by DMK MLA J Anbazhagan, a Madras High Court, headed by the then Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice Abdul Quddhose, ordered the transfer of the case to CBI.
The leader of opposition in Tamil Nadu assembly and DMK president M. K Stalin has demanded the immediate resignation of both Vijayabaskar and the state police chief.
In a statement, Stalin said that “The searches have brought shame on the state. Vijayabaskar continuing in the cabinet and Rajendran as the head of the police department will turn out to be a blot against people's rule and for the force known for its honesty.”
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