Pictures show wards of new currency notes of different denominations were stuffed inside gunny bags, cardboard boxes and big shopping bags.
Income Tax officials on Monday seized bundles of currency notes from a cement godown in Vellore less than two weeks ahead of the Lok Sabha polls. Several bundles of currency notes mostly in denominations of Rs 100 and Rs 200 were found neatly stacked up in cartons and gunny bags casting a shadow on wheather the Lok Sabha poll in the constituency will go ahead as per schedule.
According to a report by The News Minute, the godown is reportedly owned by a local DMK man Poonjolai Srinivasan. As per sources in the I-T department, the search is still ongoing in DMK functionary Perumal’s residence and the house of Aakar Ali, who is PA of DMK Treasurer Durai Murugan.
Photos of the seized cash, which is said to be exceeding Rs 10 crore, show that wards of new currency notes of different denominations were stuffed inside gunny bags, cardboard boxes and big shopping bags. I-T officials believe that the cash could be intended for voters. Some news reports on Monday also claimed that the boxes carried markings of the people whom the cash was intended to reach.
Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu Chief Electoral Officer, Satyabrata Sahoo said that the raid was conducted on the basis of the information received by Vellore’s District Electoral Officer.
Adding that a report will be submitted to the Election Commission if the seized money has a connection to the upcoming polls, CEO Sahoo said that action will be taken by the poll body after the Income Tax department submits the report.
The seizure by the I-T officials comes days after the department started searching properties owned by senior DMK leader Durai Murugan, reports said.
Both the Income Tax department and poll body officials went to Durai Murugan’s house and at 10 pm on Friday, March 29, when a fracas broke out over the jurisdiction to conduct searches. Ultimately, I-T raids started around 3 am on March 30, Saturday.
Reports have said that the cash was moved from a college which was part of Duraimurugan Educational Trust to the godown in Vellore.
Satyabrata Sahoo told reporters, “We need to check if this money is connected to any party or candidate. We have no details of the seizure from the Income-tax department.”
I-T officials will probe whether the currency notes were stored by any of the political parties or candidates contesting from Vellore constituency.
Although the DMK has pitted senior leader Durai Murugan’s son Kathir Anand, the AIADMK has fielded AC Shanmugam, founder of Puthiya Needhi Katchi. The businessman happens to be the chancellor of the Dr MGR Educational and Research Institute.
TTV Dhinakaran’s party, AMMK has fielded Pandurangan from the seat wheeras Kamal Haasan’s Makkal Needhi Maiam has pitted R Suresh in the constituency.
Meanwhile on Monday, Kathir Anand’s lawyer moved the Madras High Court pleading that the Income Tax department’s raids are disrupting Kathir Anand’s campaigning in his constituency for the forthcoming polls.
Adding that Anand has been held illegally by the I-T officials against democratic principles, the lawyer appealed the court to intervene in the issue. The judges stated that the issue would be heard in the court on Tuesday if the parties register a petition in connection with the matter.