CHENNAI: About 1,800 income tax officials swarmed over 187 premises belonging to jailed AIADMK leader V K Sasikala, her relatives and erstwhile associates in a search operation on Thursday of unprecedented scale in Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Hyderabad and Bengaluru.
The searches at all sites began between 6 am and 7 am. “Several incriminating documents, including that of shell companies, have been seized, but we are yet to tabulate the details,” a senior I-T official told TOI. He remained non-committal when asked whether cash or valuables had been seized.
Sources said the Tamil Nadu government was “very helpful” in providing specific details about the Sasikala clan. Interestingly, the searches covered almost all the aides of J Jayalalithaa, including her personal secretary Poongundran and physician Dr Sivakumar, a relative of Sasikala.
Searches were also conducted at the properties of Sasikala’s husband M Natarajan, brother V K Dhivakaran, nephew TTV Dhinakaran and niece Krishna Priya, the daughter of her sister-in-law Ilavarasi (also a convict in the disproportionate assets case involving Sasikala). Priya was reportedly managing many shell firms.
Both Jaya TV and Namadhu MGR are highly critical of the EPS government’s functioning and handling of the recent post-monsoon floods.
The searches came a day after the first anniversary of demonetisation, and it was only on Wednesday that Dhinakaran had criticised the Centre’s handling of demonetisation and GST. Dhinakaran said the searches “smacked of political vendetta aimed at ejecting him and his aunt Sasikala from politics”. “Don’t daydream of growing by destroying us,” he added.