The income tax department on Saturday continued searches at premises linked to Tamil Nadu Electricity Minister V Senthil Balaji. Cases were filed in Karur under five sections against DMK cadres and three other officials.
Raids at premises related to Tamil Nadu Electricity Minister V Senthil Balaji continued for the second day on Saturday. The searches, which began on Friday, were being conducted across various cities, including Karur and Coimbatore, at the premises of individuals linked to the minister, police sources told PTI.
Close relatives of the minister and some contractors were also among those whose premises were being searched by the tax authorities.
Balaji, a senior DMK leader from Karur, also holds the Prohibition and Excise portfolio.
Tense moments prevailed at Karur when miscreants allegedly damaged a car used by income tax officials. The windscreen of the car was damaged in the episode.
Cases were filed in Karur under five sections against DMK cadres for obstructing an officer from performing his duty and damaging property. Cases were also filed against three officials for hitting and using obscene words based on complaints by two men.
Balaji said he has been in public life since the mid-90s and denied any wrongdoing on his part.
On reports of a massive residential property coming up in his native Karur, Balaji said it was in the name of his brother’s wife on land “gifted” by her mother. No land has been purchased in his name or that of his family members since 2006, he claimed.
The raids at the locations linked to the DMK strongman came at a time when Chief Minister M K Stalin was on an official foreign trip to Singapore and Japan.
DMK ACCUSES BJP OF USING CENTRAL AGENCIES
The ruling DMK in the state alleged the BJP used central agencies such as the I-T to “avenge” opposition parties.
DMK Organisation Secretary and former MP RS Bharathi claimed the searches were a result of the BJP being “unable” to digest his party-led government’s popularity in Tamil Nadu.
Meanwhile, speaking to reporters in Chennai, Balaji denied reports he was also being raided by the authorities and said searches were being held at the premises of his brother, his friends and relatives along with their acquaintances.
“There were no raids on my premises. Even if so, I am ready to face them. Such raids are not new to us as a similar action was held during the last phase of the campaigning for the (2021) Assembly polls… In most places where the searches were held, the individuals are already paying tax; they are not tax evaders,” he said.
“If someone has done something wrong, please take action. Instead, is it fair to scale the wall and enter the house,” he said, referring to officials doing so at one of the places.
He said the persons concerned have assured full cooperation with authorities and would furnish whatever documents and details are sought by them.
Balaji said he has come to know that the searches are being held in 40 locations across the state.
To a question about vehicles of I-T officials being damaged in Karur, he quoted the local police as saying the authorities had not informed them of the searches in advance and sought protection.