Four days ahead of the Tamil Nadu assembly polls, the Income Tax Department has been unveiling IT raid shows in the state as the sleuths of the Central government body have been storming the properties of the opposition leaders in the state, particularly the properties that belong to the DMK leaders. Last week, the IT officials had conducted raids at senior DMK leader EV Velu in Tiruvannamalai.
Days after the raid, the IT officials had on Friday stormed the residence of DMK President MK Stalin's son-in-law Sabareesan in Neelankarai. The officials had arrived in the morning hours of Friday and launched a search. Over 25 IT officers are involved in the searches in the properties and apart from the Neelankarai residence, the Income Tax has brought four places under its scanner including office premises in Teynampet, Chennai.
The IT raids are also underway in DMK Anna Nagar candidate MK Mohan's house. While the raids in Chennai are still on the floor which had stirred a fresh political fight between DMK and BJP, the IT officials had also stormed the residence of DMK candidate Senthil Balaji in Karur at the same time when raiding in the circle of Stalin's family. The back-to-back raid shows unveiled by IT have been occupying the political spotlight amid heated political campaigns of the leaders in the wake of the assembly polls.
The IT raids at the properties of the DMK leaders in Chennai and Karur have been conducted in the security deployment of the paramilitary forces. Senthil Balaji is one of the key DMK candidates in the assembly polls and he will be contesting from the Karur constituency, where he will be taking on ADMK's candidate and Tamil Nadu Minister MR Vijayabaskar. According to reports, the IT sleuths have been raiding the residence and properties and the raids are expected to last at least for a day.
The reports say that Stalin's son-in-law Sabareesan was in Coimbatore when he came to know about the raids at his residence following which he started to Chennai. While he is not in town, senior DMK leaders have come to Sabareesan's residence to show their support to him. In Karur, the raid at Senthil Balaji's residence has come days after he caught up with controversy over his remarks in taking sands.
He said that the people would be allowed to load sand in bullock carts after DMK comes to power. While he was flayed by the ADMK for his remarks, Senthil Balaji had claimed that he was referring to the use of bullock carts for loading sand in Karur. He said that Karur must be given permission to allow bullock carts to take sands but stealing of sand should be stopped. As his remarks had stirred controversy, the ADMK had filed a complaint against Senthil Balaji with the Election Commission.
Senthil Balaji has also emerged to be a strong critic of the BJP and ADMK alliance in the Kongu belt, the western part of the state where the ruling ADMK enjoys a stronghold. Recently, Senthil Balaji had slammed BJP's candidate in Aravakurichi Annamalai and they had run into a war of words. Days after that, the IT officials have on Friday stormed Senthil Balaji's residence, when the searches are still underway in MK Stalin's family circle.
Senthil Balaji was serving as Tamil Nadu Transport Minister in Jayalalithaa's cabinet in 2011. After intra-party furor, Jayalalithaa had removed Senthil Balaji from the ADMK party in 2015. After her demise in 2016, Senthil Balaji had supported TTV Dhinakaran due to which he was disqualified from the assembly. After staying in Dhinakaran's AMMK for few months, he then had joined DMK and became one of the key leaders in the Kongu belt.
Though Senthil Balaji got elected to the assembly from the Aravakurichi constituency in the last two elections, he is now going to contest in Karur in DMK's ticket to take on his archnemesis MR Vijayabaskar. While the race is getting harder in the state, the IT raids are becoming incessant and major parts of the operation had the target of DMK leaders. After completing the raids at DMK's EV Velu, the sleuths have camped in the circle of MK Stalin and DMK's candidate Senthil Balaji.