In a big crackdown on the eve of Assembly elections in Tamil Nadu, the Income Tax Department on Friday conducted searches at the premises of DMK president M K Stalin’s son-in-law Sabareesan, a few party leaders and corporate groups. At the time of filing this report on Friday night, the coordinated searches at 28 premises were continuing.
Stalin put up a brave face and declared that the DMK or himself would not be cowed down by such “raids”. “I have seen the MISA [during emergency]. I will not be cowed down by these raids,” he said at an election meeting, adding that the people would give a fitting reply to such actions.
He further pointed out that the searches had coincided with the arrival of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to south Tamil Nadu for electioneering.
The searches were being conducted by the Chennai Directorate of the Income Tax Department on three different groups and “a few individuals.” The agency said that those under surveillance were involved in “handling cash” and allegedly aiding cash distribution to voters for the polls.
“These groups and individuals are involved in businesses ranging from running distilleries and breweries, real estate, local financing, solar power EPC to handling cash of politically exposed persons for the ongoing elections. The premises, under scanner, are in Chennai, Coimbatore and Karur.
By around 7 am, accompanied by paramilitary forces, IT sleuths had entered the posh East Coast Road bungalow of Sabareesan, who is married to Stalin’s daughter Senthamarai, to conduct the searches. In Karur district, they searched premises of former Transport Minister and DMK MLA Senthil Balaji, who is contesting in Karur constituency and his brother. Besides, they searched the house of Karthik Mohan, a DMK functionary and son of Anna Nagar MLA M K Mohan.