News Brief

Tamil Nadu: What Do We Know So Far About The Income Tax Raids On Senthil Balaji’s Associates

S Rajesh

May 29, 2023, 12:30 PM | Updated 12:30 PM IST

Income Tax raids at locations connected to Minister Senthil Balaji
Income Tax raids at locations connected to Minister Senthil Balaji

Income Tax raids have been going on at multiple places connected to Minister for Excise, Electricity and Prohibition, V Senthil Balaji since 26 May.

After the start of the raid, Balaji has said that none of the searches have taken place at his home.

He said that all searches have taken place at the premises of his relatives, friends and associates.

Regarding reports of a large building coming up near Karur, he said that it belonged to his brother's wife and that his family had not bought any land after 2006.

The raid at the house of his brother Ashok in Karur caught the attention of national media because supporters of Balaji allegedly manhandled Income Tax officials and damaged their vehicles.

After the incident, cross-FIRs were lodged by the police. A few DMK members have reportedly been arrested for their role.

Sivasankaran, the Director (Investigation) in the Income Tax department said that four officials including a woman officer who suffered a fracture have been discharged from the Karur government hospital.

He said that the attack was preplanned and they have evidence which they are willing to submit in court.

The Karur SP had stated that the police was not informed beforehand and so adequate security could not be provided.

According to media reports, cash amounting to Rs 2.1 crore and Rs 1.5 crore have been seized from two places. While the first seizure is from a transport contractor who works for TASMAC, the other is from Bala Vinayaga Blue Metals.

While the reason for the raid has not been stated by the Income Tax department, it could be due to the cash-for-jobs scam in which Balaji has been accused of taking cash from aspirants to appoint them to posts in various state transport corporations and the allegations regarding the 'Karur company' connected to Balaji forcing TASMAC shop owners to pay them 'mamul'.

Party leaders like Organising Secreatry RS Bharathi and spokesperson TKS Elangovan have called the raids politically motivated.

According to political commentators, the party's approach to Balaji has been different from what it adopted towards former Finance minister Palanivel Thiaga Rajan (PTR).

After the emergence of the audios, in which the voice alleged to be that of PTR, targets the Chief Minister's family, the party had largely stayed away from the matter and asked the minister to defend himself.

They also say that unlike PTR whose portfolio was changed during the Cabinet reshuffle, there are no indications of Chief Minister Stalin wanting to change Balaji's portfolio or drop him from the Cabinet as demanded by the opposition.

Further, they added that the Enforcement Directorate (ED) may also summon Balaji in the cash-for-jobs case as the Supreme Court has recently ordered it to resume its investigation.

S Rajesh is Staff Writer at Swarajya.

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