July 8, 2017
Non-governmental organization Arappor Iyakkam has demanded a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the gutkha scam since Central and State officials are involved.
NGO convenor Jayaram Venkatesan has made the request in a letter to the Superintendent Of Police, Anti Corruption Bureau, CBI Chennai, and also wanted the agency to file a first information report immediately.
Iyakkam alleges that a fair investigation may not happen in this case because the current head of the department of vigilance and anti –corruption Manjunatha was earlier reporting to DGP Rajendran as commissioner of Trichy and Tirupur. Rajendran is one of the accused in this case.
“With officials from the Centre and the State having been involved in this case, it is CBI’s duty to investigate. If it fails to take up the case, we will move the High Court,” Jayaram said.
The manufacture, storage, distribution and sale of gutkha, panmasala and other food products containing tobacco and nicotine was banned in the State in 2013. In September 2016, the Supreme Court also directed the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India to ensure stop of sale of the items.
A raid conducted by Income -Tax officials on the premises of the MDM gutka brand in Chennai resulted in seizure of documents suggesting bribe offered to various State and Central officials, including Health Minister Dr C. Vijayabaskar and DGP Rajendran. The accounts were retrieved from the residence of a company accountant.