CHENNAI: In the midst of a war of words with the faction of the ruling AIADMK since it undertook State-wide search and survey operation on Friday, the Income Tax department leaked documents that it reportedly seized during the operations which has top names, including the Chief minister and many senior cabinet members with 7-9 digit numbers written against them — alleged to be cash given for vote at RK Nagar by-election.
The tax sleuths claimed that these numbers added up to `89,65,80,000 — tidily tallying to `4,000 per vote for 85 per cent of the voters. “Money was distributed till Thursday,” said a senior official.
Sources in the agency told Express that the investigation report will be submitted to Election Commission on the searches at the residence of State Health Minister C Vijaya Basker.
As shocking as the names and the huge numbers mentioned against them are, the information on the leaked documents is rather curious.
Unlike the several handwritten ‘diary entries’ on payments that have rocked Indian politics, starting with the Jain Hawala diary, this was printed matter, that too on the letterpad of the official faction.
Though this election is conducted under the tightest scrutiny that a bypoll in Tamil Nadu had ever witnessed, these leaders’ names are given in full, including their position, without resorting to even the most basic code like using the initials of their names.
For instance, in one of the pages that has the names of seven senior cabinet ministers, including Chief Minister Edappadi K Palanisami, the first column reads: Thiru KA Sengottaiyan, Hon’ble School Education Minister; total areas - 37; total voters - 38,620; 85 per cent voters - 32,830; 13,13,20,000 (presumably the amount, which adds up, perfectly, to `4,000 each for 32,830 voters). Similarly, there are areas, total voters and 85 per cent of them and finally an untitled column perhaps indicating rupees against each of these names.
There are two more such pages with the names of the ministers, including the health minister who was the primary target of the searches on Friday, all mentioning the 85 per cent of voters in the area allotted and the amount.
Searches were conducted at over 50 places across Tamil Nadu, but it is not clear yet from where these papers were seized.