Gutkha scam: CBI searches residence of TN minister, DGP

Tamil Nadu Health Minister C Vijayabhaskar. (ANI File Photo)

Residences and premises belonging to Tamil Nadu Health Minister C Vijayabhaskar and Director General of Police T K Rajendran are under the siege of sleuths from the CBI, who are conducting searches in connection with multi-crore gutkha scam.

Several teams of the CBI from New Delhi swooped down on at least 40 locations across Tamil Nadu, including the residence of retired IPS officer S George and a former AIADMK minister, and were looking for incriminating documents regarding the gutkha scam.

The raids have come as a severe embarrassment to the AIADMK government, led by Edappadi K Palaniswami, which is battling crisis after crisis.

The gutkha scam, which was probed by DVAC, was recently transferred to CBI by the Madras High Court.

The gutkha scam, as it came to know for the past two years, relates to bribes being paid for the top brass of the Tamil Nadu administration to allow illegal sale of gutkha in the state. The allegation came into the fore after Income Tax department recovered a diary of Madhav Rao, a gutkha kingpin, that allegedly had details of bribe being paid to Vijayabhaskar, Rajendran and George, who was then Chennai police commissioner.

The I-T letter asking DVAC to probe into the allegations was recovered from the room occupied by jailed AIADMK leader V K Sasikala in the Poes Garden residence of late chief minister J Jayalalithaa. This is the third raid by the CBI targeting high-profile leaders or officials of the AIADMK after the raids against the then chief secretary P Ramamohana Rao and Vijayabhaskar in connection with R K Nagar by-polls in April 2017.

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