In a major jolt to the ruling AIADMK faction of jailed leader VK Sasikala in Tamil Nadu, the Income Tax department today raided state Health Minister Dr C Vijayabaskar’s residence and other places linked to him and his relatives.
Simultaneous raids are being undertaken across 35 locations including Pudukkottai and Trichy along with his house at Greenways road, officials said. Baskar is a native of Pudukottai.
In Chennai alone, the I-T department is raiding as many as 21 places. Rest of the locations include those in Pudukottai, Namakkal and Trichy.
These include premises of actor Sarathkumar, former MP and AIADMK leader Chitlapakkam Rajendran, Dr MGR Medical University vice-chancellor VC Dr Geethalakshmi and State Health Dept Dr Kulanthaivelu.
The raids come just days before the by-polls for the RK Nagar seat, the constituency of the late CM Jayalalitha. Polling here will be held on April 12.
Unconfirmed reports also said that the raids could also be to do with fund malpractices in the upcoming by-polls.
"The Minister and his relatives were on the radar of the Income Tax. In the last few days, we have received complaints that the Minister was directly involved in distribution of cash to voters in RK Nagar where election is scheduled to be held on April 12," a senior I-T official said.
Reacting to the development, the Minister said that he was ‘unnecessarily being harassed’.
"I am innocent and have done no wrong. They are unnecessarily harassing me and my children. They have not allowed my child to go to school," he said.
Bhaskar claimed that IT sleuths found nothing during the search operations.
“They found nothing, not even Rs 10,000 in my house. The raids are taking place based on O Panneerselvam's complaints. I am innocent," he said.
Meanwhile, his supporters and workers of the ruling AIADMK created a ruckus outside the minister's residence even as Income tax sleuths continued searches.
Baskar, one of the key members of the Sasikala faction, has always known to be her family loyalist.
In February, when O Panneerselvam revolted against Sasikala, the former caretaker CM had named Baskar as one of the key conspirators and the one who had approached him with requests for Sasikala to become General Secretary of the party.