Tamil Nadu health minister C Vijayabaskar allegedly distributed around Rs 89 crore to a number of politicians to buy votes from people for the RK Nagar bypoll in Tamil Nadu, according to a report by the Election Commission of India. On Sunday, the EC canceled the election, which was to take place on April 12, after massive use of cash and other goods by politicians to buy votes was exposed.
Last week, the IT officials had carried out search and seizure under section 132 of Income Tax Act 1961, at 21 places in Chennai and 11 outside Chennai in Tamil Nadu belonging to Vijayabaskar and his associates. Prominent among his associates, who were searched are Sarath Kumar, film actor and President, Samathuva Makkal Katchi, Rajendran, AIADMK leader and former MP(2009) and Dr S Geetha Lakshmi, Director of Health Services (TN) and Vice Chancellor of Dr MGR Medical University.
The EC had also received several complaints indicating that Vijayabaskar was the main person involved in bribing the voters in RK Nagar Assembly constituency. The Income Tax officials had found some loose sheets from the accountant of Vijayabaskar. The sheets indicated the distribution of Rs 89 crore to a number of politicians for distribution among voters. The IT department managed to seize cash worth Rs 5 crore seized from the confidantes of Vijayabaskar and from his native place.
Here are a few things to know about Vijayabaskar:
- Vijayabaskar, 42, is a doctor and a law graduate.
- Vijayabaskar represents Viralimalai Assembly Constituency in Pudukottai district.
- Vijayabaskar was appointed as Tamil Nadu Health Minister by then CM Jayalalithaa in 2013. He had replaced KC Veeramani, who was shifted to the Ministry of School Education, Sports and Youth Welfare.
- Vijayabaskar is said to be a supporter of Sasikala, who is in jail these days, and an important fund-raiser of the AIADMK.
- Following I-T raids, Vijayabaskar had claimed he was innoced and being framed. “They were threatening me. My child wanted to go to the school but they did not allow. This is politically motivated. The I-T department is harassing me,” said Vijayabaskar.
The EC has not yet declared the next date for the bypoll. On Monday, politicians spoke in different voices against the cancellation of bypoll. DMK leader MK Stalin said, “Election Commission should also probe how bribing took place despite huge deployment of observers and flying squads. It should also take tough action against police officers and election officials.
AIADMK’s RK Nagar candidate TTV Dinakaran called the EC decision as undemocratic. “It is a wrong decision by the Election Commission. I don’t know the reason (why they are doing this) maybe even the EC does not want me to win so they are trying to postpone the polls. It is undemocratic,” he said.
(With agency inputs)