November 11, 2017
Image credit : Illustrative Image
Chennai: The Mannargudi clan is under severe pressure and interrogation over alleged fraudulent financial transactions, suspected tax evasion and operation of shell companies as income tax raids on friends, business associates and relatives of sidelined and jailed AIADMK leader VK Sasikala entered the third day on Saturday.
According to reports, Rs 5.5 crore in cash and 15 kg gold was seized during search operations besides several incriminating documents. However, official confirmation of this information was not forthcoming. Senior IT officials maintained that it was too early to make any comment on the quantum or quality of seizures and it would take to collate, tabulate and evaluate the value of the gold and jewellery seized.
Operation of shell companies was suspected and during raids some documents relating them were seized, sources said.
The only thing that IT officials could confirm was that raids were still taking place in some areas. Sources said that still searches were carrying on in 40 places in Tamil Nadu, including Jaya TV, Namadhu MGR,, Jazz Cinemas and Midas Distilleries among other business establishments.
An IT official did not rule out summoning of any of the persons whose premises were searched if there was any need in the future.
In Chennai, IT sleuths are said to be questioning Jaya TV CEO Vivek for alleged financial irregularities in the dealings of the television channel as also on the purchase of Jazz cinemas for Rs 1000 crore. He is said to be being grilled over the source of funds for the purchase.
“Sizeable volume of cash and documents have been seized at the searched premises. The search operation is still on. The volume and value of cash and documents seized would be known only after the raids are over,” said the IT official. The searches are being conducted in connection with unexplained routing of cash post demonetization through shell companies allegedly connected to Sasikala and Dinakaran.
It was not a fishing expedition, we had specific information and we raided only the relevant people, said another senior IT official who did not wish to be named.
The places raided included the residence of M. Natarajan, Sasikala’s husband, in Thanjavur, Kodanad Tea Estate belonging to late Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa, Jazz Cinemas, Midas Distilleries, Sharada Paper and Boards, Senthil Group of Companies, Nilgiri Furniture in Coimbatore, Jaya TV, Namadhu MGR and several other premises in Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Hyderabad and Bengaluru.