IT raids at multiple locations linked to TN Minister Senthilbalaji

Chennai,(| Officials of the Income Tax department today conducted raids at multiple locations linked to Tamil Nadu Electricity, Prohibition and Excise Minister V.Senthilbalaji across Tamil Nadu and neighbouring states on charges of alleged tax evasion. Sources said raids were on in more than 30 locations, including at about ten places in the Minister’s native Karur district, besides in Hyderabad, Telangana, Palakkad in Kerala and Bengaluru in Karnataka.

In Tamil Nadu the raids were on in Chennai, Karur and Coimbatore in the houses and offices of various Government contractors who have alleged links with the Minister. The raids began in the morning and were continuing. Among the places searched were the house of Minister’s brother V.Ashok in Ramakrishnapuram area in Karur. IT officials faced hostile reaction from the Minister’s supporters and DMK cadres, who prevented them from carrying out the searches.

As the news about the IT raids spread, a large number of DMK cadres and the supporters of Mr.Senthilbalaji gathered in front of the house of Mr.Ashok and shouted slogans denouncing the raids and also against the Union government. As the main gates of some of the premises were locked, IT officials scaled oer the gates and gained entry into the house. The angry cadres also gheraoed a woman IT official when she attempted to enter into the house of Mr.Ashok. They insisted on her to show her identity card and picked up heated arguments with her.

Angry protesters gheraoed the officials and also pelted stones on a vehicle of the IT officials, damaging the windscreen and broke the car mirrors. Karur District Superintendent of Police E.Sundaravathanam said no prior information was received about the IT raids. Even CRPF police did not accompany the IT officials. “Had the IT department intimated to us about the raids, we would have given adequate police protection”, he said. However, after receiving reports that the car of IT officials were damaged, more than 200 police personnel were deployed on security duty in at least nine locations. As the IT officials faced stiff resistance, some of them went to the office of the Karur
District Superintendent of Police seeking police protection. Meanwhile, Mr Senthilbalaji said no raids were conducted in his residences in Chennai and Karur and that the searches were on in places linked to his brother.
The searches were being held in the backdrop of the main Opposition AIADMK and the BJP submitting separate memorandums to Governor R.N. Ravi, alleging large-scale irregularities
in the functioning of the state-owned Tasmac outlets and the private bars attached to them
after 22 people had died in two spurious liquor tragedies in Villuppuram and Chengalpattu
districts recently.(UNI)