Madras High Court grants CBI custody of accused in gutka case
CHENNAI: All accused in the gutka scam case have been sent to the CBI custody for four days. An order to this effect was passed by the Principal Special Court for CBI cases here on Monday.
When the petition seeking the custody of the accused from the CBI came up on Monday, special judge A Thiruneela Prasad granted the permission. The CBI should remand them back in prison on Friday.
CBI special public prosecutor submitted that the gutka products were banned in Tamil Nadu in 2013. However, gutkha barons - A V Madhav Rao and P V Shrinivasa Rao - were engaged in manufacturing and selling them freely even after the ban. With the collusion of officials, they had even renewed the licence of their companies.
According to the CBI, another accused Dr P Senthil Murugan, an official attached to the Food Safety and Drug Administration Department, had received a bribe of `2.5 lakh per month from Madhav Rao regularly. And Central Excise Superintendent N K Pandyan also received a bribe of `25,000 for issuing permission to machines used in producing gutka and other related products. They paid a bribe of `15 crore in 2014 and `40 crore in 2015-2016 to several persons, including officials. All these were mentioned in the diary seized from Madhav Rao during IT raids in 2016.
Hence, it is imperative to take them under custody to elicit more details about the scam. Only then, the CBI would be able to carry on the investigation properly and arrest the kingpins, the counsel told the court.