The income tax authorities today began searches at the premises of former AIADMK minister Natham R Viswanathan and Vetri, son of city mayor Saidai Duraisamy, to investigate alleged tax evasions and their role with regard to seizure of cash from a businessman ahead of the May 16 TN Assembly election.
Hours after the raids began, party supremo and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa removed Nathan Viswanathan as party spokesperson and organisational secretary.
The search began this morning at eight premises related to Natham Viswanathan here and in his native Didigul, official sources said.
Vishwanathan was the state Electricity minister during the previous tenure of the AIADMK (2011-16) and was perceived quite influential.
Sources said the raids were initiated following unearthing of “some material evidences” from the premises of businessman Anbunathan, which indicated probability of his links with “Natham Viswanathan and Vetri Duraisamy”, son of Saidai Duraisamy.
Ahead of the state Assembly election, tax and election officials had seized Rs 4.77 crore, 11 cash counting machines and a fake currency note detector apart from Rs 10.33 lakh from the parking shed of Anbunathan, a Karur-based businessman.
They said the searches will help throw more light on the cash seizure vis-a-vis the veracity of indications of links between Anbunathan and the duo.
Raids were being held in three premises of Vetri Duraisamy, including a farm house here, the sources said.
In separate raids, several premises of a leading jewellery retail chain spread across the country, and a prominent hospital were also being searched for tax evasion, they added.