Income Tax officials on Monday seized Rs 11.53 crore from a cement godown allegedly belonging to a local DMK leader in Vellore in northern Tamil Nadu and sleuths are probing whether the money was meant for distribution among voters in the constituency.
The godown allegedly belongs to local DMK functionary Poonjolai Srinivasan, who is a close aide of party treasurer Durai Murugan, whose son Kadhir Anand is contesting the Lok Sabha elections from Vellore.
Though I-T officials were tight-lipped on details of the investigation, they confirmed that raids are continuing in premises owned by DMK block secretary Perumal and Murugan’s secretary Askar Ali were also being raided.
Officials said raids at an engineering college owned by Anand are still continuing.
Meanwhile, Anand knocked at the doors of the Madras High Court seeking a stay on such raids since it prevents them from concentrating on elections.
Wads of cash neatly packed and ward numbers written on it were recovered from the godown, the sources said. They suspect the cash was meant for distribution among voters since they had even recovered documents like voters’ list. Murugan’s residence was raided by the I-T officials early on Saturday morning in connection with elections.
Cash for votes is a reality in Tamil Nadu where political parties spend huge amount of cash to tilt votes in their favour. In the past, elections to three constituencies — Aravakurichi and Thanjavur, and by-elections to Dr R K Nagar Assembly constituency — were rescinded due to allegations of rampant use of money power.
As the fresh recovery of currency-linked the DMK, its president M K Stalin viewed it as an act of political vendetta. “It is meant to threaten us. We will not fear such raids. These raids are meant to intimidate us, and I would like to say DMK men will never be threatened by such actions,” Stalin said.
The sources said they suspect that the money recovered was moved from a private engineering college owned by Murugan to the godown after the raids last week. Tamil Nadu Chief Electoral Officer Satyabrata Sahoo said they were yet to receive any official report from the I-T department, following which a decision on necessary action will be taken.