CHENNAI: Income-Tax department has seized `22 crore in cash from properties linked to Tamil Nadu Minister for Public Works Department, Highways and Minor Ports EV Velu and his close aides during searches carried out in the last four days, official sources told TNIE.
Searches carried out against two major real estate developers resulted in seizure of Rs 7 crore in cash, the sources said. I-T searches were being carried out at more than 40 places across Tamil Nadu, including 16 places allegedly connected to the minister in Tiruvannamalai. Unaccounted transactions worth hundreds of crores have also been been unearthed during the raids, sources said on Monday.
The searches are still continuing in educational institutions like Arunai Medical College Hospital, Arunai Engineering College, Jeeva Velu Matriculation School, and Karan Arts College. When TNIE contacted Velu’s advocate and DMK spokesperson
S Jayaraj he maintained that no document or money was seized from the minister’s home in Tiruvannamalai. “The I-T department conducted a similar raid in 2021, but no substantial evidence was found to justify the raid,” he said.
Third DMK minister to come under ED scanner
On the second day of the operation, the department asked for an explanation regarding documents found in the minister’s residence and we promptly provided clarification,” he said.
The searches against Velu sparked outbursts from DMK leader and state minister Udhayanidhi Stalin who alleged agencies like the I-T and Enforcement Directorate (ED) have become BJP’s political “wings” and asserted that the matter would be faced legally.
Velu is the third minister to come under the scanner of central agencies. Minister V Senthil Balaji is currently lodged in Puzhal Central Jail in a Prevention of Money Laundering Act case filed by the Enforcement Directorate. Similarly, Higher Education Minister K Ponmudy’s properties were also searched by the ED.