I-T raids on Jaya TV | It's a plot to bar Sasikala from politics, claims TTV Dhinakaran; documents seized from old channel office
IT sources said the raids are being conducted in almost 200 places connected to jailed AIADMK leader VK Sasikala and her extended family spread across various cities and states.
CHENNAI: Income Tax officials today at 6 am raided the office of Tamil channel Jaya TV here, which is perceived to be politically disposed in favour of deposed AIADMK leaders V K Sasikala and TTV Dhinakaran, over allegations of tax evasion and alleged money laundering via newly-floated shell companies.
Simultaneous raids began at several other places including the office of Dr Namadhu MGR newspaper, the mouthpiece of the AIADMK party and Jaya TV MD and Sasikala's nephew Vivek Jayaraman's residence here in the city.
I-T sources said the raids are being conducted in almost 200 places connected to Sasikala and her extended family spread across various states and cities, including Tamil Nadu, Hyderabad, Delhi and other places.
Income tax sources told agencies that the search is in connection with unexplained routing of cash post-demonetisation through shell companies connected with them as well as aspects like dubious investments, fund flow and fudging of accounts. The searches at the TV channel's accounts branch here is part of 'Operation Clean Money', sources told PTI.
Here are all the latest updates:
BJP State president Tamilisai Soundararajan said, "Why this hue and cry over these raids? If they are comfortable that the sources of their assets, they can show their accounts and settle the issue. The charge that I-T department is being used to suppress them is meaningless because BJP does not think that you (TTV Dhinakaran) is not a challenge to us politically. To say that IT raids are vindictive action just because the raids are happening in the places of politicians is a wrong perception."
"Since many suspicions are raised about the I-T raids, the department is duty bound to clarify the real picture to the people," said TMC founder GK Vasan.
VCK president Thol Thirumavalavan said, "Today’s I-T raids are perceived by the people as politically motivated; Using I-T raids as a tool intimidate those who oppose the ruling party will bring down the image of the institution called I-T Department." VCK president Thol Thirumavalavan.
The deputy coordinator of the AIADMK faction led by EPS-OPS, R Vaithilingam said, "Such raids are not new. Already, many times, such raids have taken place."
"If those being raided by IT department keep their accounts clean, there is no need to worry. The AIADMK has no connection with these raids," said Anwar Razza, MP, a supporter of AIADMK EPS-OPS faction.
Tamil Nadu's opposition leader MK Stalin questions why so many frequent I-T raids were being conducted in Tamil Nadu. " The Union Minister under whom Income Tax department falls and authorities of the department must explain the reason for frequent I-T raids in Tamil Nadu," said DMK working president, Stalin. He wants to officials to make public the action taken on earlier I-T raids in the state.
"A total of 187 places are being raided. 10 groups who were owning shell companies are identified. They have made large deposits in banks. Raids were conducted in Manargudi also and almost all premises belonging to associates of Diwakaran were raided," said a top I-T official to The New Indian Express.
Poes Garden residence of former chief minister J Jayalalithaa was not raided. But a place close to it, which earlier housed JJ TV is raided. It is believed to contain some documents. "We have seized huge documents during the raids today," an IT official told Express.
IT sources also confirmed that no raids happened at TTV Dhinakaran's house.
House of Poongundran, who was functioning as a personal secretary to former chief minister J Jayalalithaa was also raided by IT officials. His house is located at Nehru Nagar Third Street at Adyar in Chennai.
"A total of 187 places are being raided. 10 groups who were owning shell companies are identified. They have made large deposits in banks. Raids were conducted in Mannargudi also and almost all premises belonging to associates of Diwakaran were raided," said a top IT official to Express.
A six member IT officials conducting raids at residences of TNPSC member Balusamy, advocate Senthil, Pandiyan and a travels agency owner Balasubramaniam in Namakkal town from morning 10 am.
Thanga Thamizhselvan, supporter of TTV Dhinakaran and one of the 18 MLAs disqualified says "Why IT failed to raid in the premises of those names found in the diaries of Sekar Reddy and Anbunathan ? Why single out VK Sasikala and TTV relatives?"
Vettrivel, one of the disqualified MLA and a strong supporter of Dhinakaran, "It is an attempt to attach Jaya Tv and other properties."
Six IT officials including three from Puducherry are at the TTV Dhinakaran's farmhouse in Bhoomiyarpalayam in Villupuram district. Since AIADMK party men blocked the path by parking cars, a police team came to the spot and cleared the way. The IT officials walked for about 500 metres to reach the place.
"The raids are a plot to prevent Sasikala to continue in politics. We will face this and overcome this," said TTV Dhinakaran, the sidelined leader of TN's ruling AIADMK party at a press conference. He denied any raid in his house so far. He says that only a few officials came to his residence.
People are watching everything, they understand what is going on. If the Centre thinks they can destroy us by conducting such raids, they are day-dreaming: TTV Dhinakaran pic.twitter.com/oALm1R4PBq
— ANI (@ANI) November 9, 2017
He said the IT department will look at routing of funds within India and there are other agencies that look at routing of funds outside India.
Ten groups of IT officials were involved in "the search exercise taking place across Tamil Nadu, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Delhi and other places", an IT official told IANS preferring anonymity.
I-T raids at seven places in Coimbatore including the house of Armugasamy, a sand businessman based in Coimbatore.
I-T raid in the premises of Dhinakaran's house and an arts college located in Sundarakkottai near Mannargudi in Tiruvarur district.
Raid in six places at Mannargudi, where most of Sasikala's family hails from.
Since morning, police personnel have been deployed in front of Dinakaran's farmhouse at Bhoomiyarpalayam near Auroville in Villupuram district. Around 9.15 am I-T people entered the premises to conduct the raids.
I-T raids at five places in Thanjavur including the house of M Natarajan, T V Mahadevan (deceased), V K Sundaravadanam.
I-T raid at Nerkuppai near Manamelkudi in the house of one EA Karthikeyan, former Manamelkudi Union chairman and district secretary of AIADMK (TTV Group) and brother of Aranthangi MLA Rathinasababathi.
A team of Income Tax officials from Chennai raided AIADMK Karnataka state secretary V Pugazhendhi's house in Bengaluru on Thursday morning. [READ FULL REPORT]
The raids, which began at 6 am today at the channel's office in Ekkatthuthangal, are still on.
Started by former Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa, the channel is now controlled by jailed AIADMK leader V K Sasikala's family, led by her nephew Vivek Jayaraman.
Advocate Kasinathabharathi, who is affiliated to AIADMK alleged that the Centre was acting against those who were politically against it. “We will face these raids legally. We will not be cowed down by these raids,” he added.
Here is the list of places being raided:
1) Jaya TV office, Ekkattuthangal
2) TTV Dhinakaran's house, Adyar
3) Jaya TV MD Vivek Jayaraman (nephew of Sasikala) residence, Mahalingapuram
4) Jaya TV's old office, next to Jayalalithaa’s residence in Poes Garden
5) Jaya TV CEO Jayaraman's sister Krishnapriya's house in T Nagar. She is the daughter of Ilavarasi, where VK Sasikala stayed for five days during her parole.
6) Jazz Cinemas office, Ekkattuthangal and also inside Phoenix Mall, Velachery
7) Residence of M Natarajan in Thanjavur, husband of Sasikala
8) Sengamalathaayar college, Thanjavur owned by Divakaran, Sasikala’s brother
9) TTV Dhinakaran’s house at Mannargudi
10) State secretary of the AIADMK in Karnataka, V Pugazhendhi's residence, Bengaluru
11) Dhivaharan residence, Mannargudi
12) Dhivaharan's assistant's Vinayagam's residence, Mannargudi
13) Dhivaharan friends Sujay and Selvam residences, Mannargudi
14) Dr Namadhu MGR office, Ekkattuthangal
15) Lawyer Velukarthikeyan residence, Thanjavur
16) Dhivarahan's friend Vaduvur Agri Rajendran's residence, Mannargudi
17) Sundaravadanam and late TV Mahadevan residences, Thanjavur
18) house of S Kamaraj, district head of TTV faction of AIADMK near Aranthangi,
19) Residence of Senthil, advocate for Sasikala, at Namakkal
20) The house of Dr Venkatesh, another close relative of Sasikala, in Thanjavur
21) Sasikala's relative Kalia Perumal's house in Tiruchy
22) Premises of Midas Distilleries
23) Residence of Poongundran, who was functioning like personal secretary to former chief minister J Jayalalithaa
(With inputs from Express News Service and agencies)