Gutka scam note found in Sasikala's room

The Income Tax department has told the Madras High Court that its confidential letter seeking action against those involved in the gutka scam in Tamil Nadu was seized from a room occupied by expelled AIADMK leader Sasikala in the Poes Garden residence of Jayalalithaa.

This information was disclosed in an affidavit submitted on Friday by Principal Director of Income Tax, Chennai, Susie Babu Varghese on a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by DMK MLA J Anbazhagan for a CBI probe into the alleged scam.

Charging that a state minister and high-level state and central government officers, including police officers, were involved in the scam to "facilitate" sale of banned gutka (tobacco product), the PIL contended that the CBI alone can conduct a thorough and impartial probe into the matter.

According to the affidavit, the then principal director of the I-T department had on August 11, 2016, written a letter to the Tamil Nadu chief secretary and the director general of police in connection with the scam.

The letter was addressed to both of them, with copies of the relevant accounts from the seized materials, it said.

Copies of extracts of sworn statements recorded from Madhava Rao, a partner in the gutka company allegedly involved in the scam, evidencing payment to various parties connected with the state government, were also enclosed with the letter.

The letter had requested necessary action against the people concerned, Susie said in the affidavit.

It further said that during a search conducted by the (I-T) department on November 17, 2017, in the rooms occupied by Sasikala in Veda Nilayam, a note dated September 2, 2016, and signed by the then DGP addressed to the then chief minister (Jayalalithaa) enclosing copies of the confidential I-T letter was found and seized.

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