I-T Department continue raids on premises linked to jailed AIADMK leader VK Sasikala for second day

By PTI

Chennai/Thanjavur: Income Tax sleuths on Friday continued their raids for the second day in premises linked to jailed AIADMK leader VK Sasikala and her kin over suspected tax evasion during which eight persons were arrested for allegedly preventing the searches.

The searches, which began in 187 locations on Thursday in multiple cities including at Tamil channel Jaya TV and its associates, continued in "some premises" for the second day, said a senior official of the Income Tax department.

However, the searches concluded in other locations, the official said.

Some documents and cash have also been seized during the searches, the official told PTI.

Backed with inputs including those from finance ministry's Financial Intelligence Unit, the raids were being conducted following allegations covering various aspects.

File image of jailed AIADMK leader VK Sasikala. PTI

This included suspicion of shell companies, dubious investments, suspicious fund flow and its transfers and fudging of accounts.

A Coimbatore report, quoting police sources, said searches continued for the second day at the house and offices of Arumugamsamy, a sand merchant in the city, and Sajeevan, who is supplying furniture across Coimbatore and Nilgiris districts.

Sajeevan had also supplied wood and other materials to the Kodanadu bungalow in Kotagiri belonging to late Jayalalithaa.

Declining to provide any details, they said the sleuths had completed their task at four locations and searches are continuing at three other places.

Meanwhile, I-T sleuths have reportedly taken account details from a Nationalised Bank at Kodanadu of a few hundred tea estate workers to check whether any large amount was deposited in their name in the last one year.

A report from Thanjavur, quoting police, said eight persons were arrested for allegedly preventing income tax officials from discharging their duty and entering into a wordy duel.

When staffers of a college near Thanjavur, which is reportedly linked to Sasikala's kin, went to the extent of "frisking the baggage" of tax officials, it led to heated exchanges between them, leading to their arrest, police said.

On Thursday, Dhinakaran, the deposed AIADMK deputy general secretary, condemned the searches as a "conspiracy" and criticised the Centre.

Jaya TV premises in Chennai and Dhinakaran's farm house were searched as part of 'Operation Clean Money,' under which premises belonging to ten Income Tax assessee groups were searched.

Of the 187 premises searched on Thursday, most of it were in Tamil Nadu, a handful in Hyderabad, three in New Delhi, and one in Bengaluru.

Dubbing the searches a "conspiracy", Dhinakaran alleged it was to oust him and his jailed aunt from politics.