The CBI today conducted simultaneous raids on the residences of Tamil Nadu Health Minister C Vijayabhaskar, Director-General of Police T K Rajendran who is on extension , Chennai Police Commissioner S George and several other officials in 40 places in connection with bribe allegedly paid by a gutka manufacturer in Chennai to facilitate sale of the banned chewing tobacco .
Vijayabhaskar is already in trouble over an income-tax raid and recovery of rs 20 lakh cash from the residence of his father Chinna Thambi, allegedly money paid as bribe by job aspirants.
It was for the first time in Tamil Nadu that a DGP of Police had been raided. The case had a chequered history showing cover-up at every stage.
The raids covered the residences and business premises of not only the Minister and top police officials, but also officers of the Chennai Corporation, excise officials and others who were allegedly on the payrolls of Madhava Rao, a gutka maker of Chennai.
The raids were held not only in Chennai, Thoothuodi and Tirunelveli, but also in Vijayawada and Guntur as well as Pune and Mumbai on the relatives Madhava Rao.
The officials searched the residences of George and Rajendran in Chennai for over ten hours.
The CBI team also raided the residences of former Dairy Development Minister P V Ramananan who was sacked and removed from the AIADMK by late Chief Minister J Jayalalitha in February 2016.
The raids followed seizure of a diary from Madhava Rao during an IT raid in July 2016 for tax evasion allegedly totaling Rs 250 crore. The diary contained entries of bribes totaling Rs 40 crore paid over a period to various officials and Minister to facilitate the sale of gutka and pan masala which were banned by the Jayalalitha Government
The department sent a letter to the then DGP, Ashok Kumar, and the then Chief Secretary Rama Mohana Rao on the raids. The Chief Secretary forwarded it to Jayalalitha but no action was taken on it. The DGP put up a note to the Chief Secretary That letter and a note put up by George were recovered during a raid on Jayalalitha’s Poes Garden residence in November last year after her death. It was found in her aide Sasikala’s room.
Initially, the case was registered in September last year by the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption .But it failed to file a charge-sheet within the stipulated six months time. Thereupon, the Madras High Court in April this year ordered a CBI enquiry on a petition filed by DMK legislator J Anbazhagan.
Anbazhagan, accompanied by lawyer, called on the CBI in Chennai a few days ago to know the status of the investigation after the court order. Commenting on the raids, he hoped” the CBI must have gathered enough evidence to arrest the Minister, the DGP and others”.