Explained: The fresh case against former ADMK Minister SP Velumani and the second episode of raids!

Tamil Nadu's premier anti-corruption agency, the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC), has stormed the properties connected to former ADMK Minister SP Velumani on Tuesday - March 15 and has been conducting raids on the grounds of amassing a massive scale of wealth than the income sources of his family. Incidentally, the ongoing raid is the second episode of trouble for the former minister, who had faced raids for the first time last August. 

SP Velumani had served as the Minister for Municipal Administration in the previous ADMK regime led by Edappadi Palaniswami and he has been a bighead in the party. On Tuesday, dozens of DVAC sleuths had brought several properties in SP Velumani's home town in Coimbatore as well as across Tamil Nadu. The DVAC has filed a fresh case against Velumani and his relatives under the grounds of disproportionate assets and his close associates have been brought under the scanner. 

It has been reported that the case was registered for disproportionate assets of Rs 58.93 crore, which is 3928% of the total income between April 27, 2016, and March 15, 2021. The second round of raids has come after the DVAC has raised a suspicion that SP Velumani and his relatives had acquired assets in foreign countries. The state's corruption watchdog has said that Velumani has visited Maldives, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, and the UK when he was a minister. 

He had stayed in these five countries for a total of 32 days while his family members had travelled to nine countries and stayed for 130 days. It has also been suspected that Velumani has pipelined the illicit money to various companies in which R Chandrasekar (Accused no 4 in the case) and Chandraprakash (Accused no 5) and their relatives are partners or shareholders or directors and has acquired many more assets and earthed in the name of his relatives in various places across and beyond Tamil Nadu. 

The fresh FIR filed by DVAC has said that criminal acts committed by some of the accused are being investigated under sections of the IPC as well as sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act of 1988. According to reports, a total of 58 locations connected to Velumani were being searched in six districts - Chennai, Coimbatore, Namakkal, Salem, Tirupattur, and Krishnagiri. Velumani's wife, son, daughter and brother SP Anbarasan were also included in the FIR. 

As the searches were going on at Velumani's residence in Sugunapuram, Coimbatore, hundreds of ADMK cadres had gathered before his residence to show their support. The DVAC is in the strong affirmation that Velumani and his family members had travelled abroad, while he was a minister, to accumulate these illicit incomes and assets. A DVAC official has said that some of the places searched include the residences of Velumani's benami Chandrasekar, former MLA Ettimadai Shanmugam, residences of additional superintendent of police Anitha, and properties that belong to jewellers. 

It must be noted that in February, a special court for cases under the Prevention of Corruption Act has ordered the attachment of fixed deposits of over Rs 110 crore, allegedly belonging to Velumani. The fixed deposits were in the names of the firms of his associates. The DVAC police had registered an FIR against Velumani and 16 others following an order of the Madras High Court. Last August, DVAC had conducted raids against Velumani in connection to corruption and irregularities of allotting government contracts while he was serving as a minister.