CHENNAI: On a day when income tax officers searching AIADMK icon J Jayalalithaa’s Poes Garden residence claimed to have hit pay dirt in the chambers of her long-time aide VK Sasikala, Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami pointed his fingers at the clan, saying the raids happened because of “the misdeeds of some persons”.
Speaking to Express, a senior income tax official claimed they found original documents pertaining to the shell companies run by the clan after searching the rooms used by Sasikala in the Poes Garden residence. “We got one laptop, a desktop, six pen drives, a tablet and incriminating documents.... We got what we wanted,” the official said. The search was limited to the rooms controlled by Sasikala; Jayalalithaa’s room was left untouched.
During an initial assessment they found all original documents on the maze of shell companies owned and operated by the clan stored on electronic devices. “The initial focus was on two rooms used by Sasikala. While the search was on, the maids there said Sasikala also used two other rooms; we found the electronic documents there,” he said. All original documents pertaining to the shell companies were there, he added.
The Chief Minister conceded it was a painful development. “The raids have pained me and 1.5 crore cadre like me. Amma’s residence is like a temple for us, which was why we took steps to convert it into a memorial. The misdeeds of some persons had resulted in the raids. They have brought the party a bad name.”
Asked about the charge that there was an ulterior motive behind the IT action, the Chief Minister denied it, saying the IT department did not come under the State government. The raid is a follow-up of the recent searches at the premises of the clan and their cronies, after getting permission from the court.
An income tax official said when initially they searched 187 premises across the state, they were not sure the documents and other evidence would be in Poes Garden. “Since Sasikala and her aides were not allowed inside after the intra-party rift, we avoided it during our initial searches,” the official said.
‘Poes Garden search wasn’t initial plan’
“It was only on Friday night that we got a tip-off that efforts are on to clandestinely remove electronic devices from the Garden, so we raided it,” said an IT official