The CBI today arrested six persons in connection with the Rs 40-crore gutka scam involving alleged payment of bribes to Tamil Nadu Health Minister C Vijayabhaskar, Director-General of Police T K Rajendran, former Chennai Police Commissioner S George and other officials.
The arrests were made at the end of a search in 35 places in Tamil Nadu, Bengaluru, Mumbai and Guntur and interrogation of top police officers, owners of the gutka manufacturing unit, and officials running which began in the early hours of Wednesday and ended this morning.
The arrested are A V Madhava Rao, owner of MDM Gutka Company , Uma Shankar Gupta, managing director of the company, drug administration official Senthil Murugan, superintendent of central excise department N K Pandian, and middle men Nanda Kumar and Rajendran. .
The longest search was conducted in the posh residence of former Chennai Police Commissioner S George in Nolambur in Anna Nagar. It is a 33-room posh bungalow and the search which began in the early hours of Wednesday, ended only around 8.30 p.m.
The CBI officials have seized some documents from George’s residence, including a note he had put up to the then DGP Ashok Kumar and the then Chief Secretary Rama Mohana Rao about several officials being on the payroll of Madhava Rao and facilitating the sale of the banned gutka and pan masala in the State.
The CBI officials have also seized a diary and ledger entries made by Madhava Rao about bribes paid to various officials totalling Rs 40 crore since sale of gutka and pan masala was banned by the Jayalalitha Government in 2013.
After scrutinizing the documents seized from various places, the CBI in the next stage of the investigation is expected to summon suspects for further questioning.
The scam light when the income-tax department raided the godown of Madhava Rao’s gutka company in Chennai in July 2017 in connection with tax evasion to the extent of Rs 250 crore by him and the seizure of the diary and the ledger.
Leader of the Opposition M K Stalin, who has demanded that the Governor sack the Health Minister and the DGP if they do not resign on their own, stepped up his campaign today by demanding their arrest.