Gutkha scam: TN health minister summoned by CBI

Last Updated 14 December 2018, 19:07 IST

The CBI has summoned Tamil Nadu Health Minister C Vijayabhaskar to appear before it on Saturday in connection with the multi-crore gutkha scam.

The minister and his former ministerial colleague, B V Ramana, have been asked to appear before the CBI at its office in Chennai.

The CBI move comes three months after the agency searched the premises belonging to Vijayabhaskar, Ramana, DGP T K Rajendran, former Chennai Police commissioner S George and senior officials of sales tax department, customs and central excise and food safety and drug administration.

This is the second time that Vijayabhaskar, an influential leader from Pudukkottai near Tiruchi, has come under the radar of central agencies.

In 2017, the I-T department raided his residence and recovered documents that showed more than Rs 80 crore was to be distributed among voters in the by-elections to R K Nagar, which was subsequently rescinded.

The gutkha scam relates to bribes being paid reportedly to the top brass of the Tamil Nadu administration to allow illegal sale of gutkha in the state from 2013, when the ban on such products came into force, to 2016 when Jayalalithaa was the chief minister.

The allegation came into the fore after the Income Tax department recovered the diary of Madhava Rao, a gutkha manufacturer, that reportedly had details of bribe to the tune of Rs 40 crore being paid to Vijayabhaskar, Rajendran, George and other government officials.

(Published 14 December 2018, 15:56 IST)

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