Anti-graft cell begins probe against OPS: TN to HC

Anti-graft cell begins probe against OPS: TN to HC

Hearing the case on July 17, Justice Jayachandran had asked why a CBI probe should not be ordered into allegations of amassing of wealth disproportionate to the known sources of income of the deputy chief minister. He had then asked the DVAC to file a reply on Wednesday. PTI file photo.

The Tamil Nadu government on Wednesday informed the Madras High Court that the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC) has initiated preliminary inquiry into allegations that Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam has amassed wealth.

Advocate General Vijay Narayan told Justice G Jayachandran that the preliminary probe is looking into allegations that Panneerselvam and his family members possess assets disproportionate to their known sources of income. The investigation was ordered, according to Narayan, on July 18 – a day after the High Court rapped the DVAC for sitting on the complaint filed by the DMK in this regard.

Advocate General's submission before the court is a major setback for Panneerselvam, who has already been sidelined in the ruling AIADMK.

Hearing the case on July 17, Justice Jayachandran had asked why a CBI probe should not be ordered into allegations of amassing of wealth disproportionate to the known sources of income of the deputy chief minister. He had then asked the DVAC to file a reply on Wednesday.

Narayan, appearing for the DVAC, said the probe has been initiated into the allegations.

Pannerselvam, who became chief minister twice when late J Jayalalithaa's tenure was cut short due to court verdicts. He is serving as deputy chief minister since August, 2017.

The court is hearing a petition filed by DMK Rajya Sabha MP R S Bharathi in which he alleged that Panneerselvam had amassed wealth by abusing his power gained unlawfully and invested the same in companies and properties either in his name or "benamis".

Referring to Panneerselvam's declaration before the Election Commission in 2014-15 that he had an annual income of Rs 5.80 lakh while his basic salary as an MLA was Rs 6.60 lakh, the petitioner claimed that in the same period, the deputy chief minister had bought a car worth Rs 17.85 lakh.

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