Ground report: From protests to war of words...How ADMK reacted to the raids against two former ministers?

It was a busy day for DVAC (Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption) and a much busy day for Tamil Nadu's opposition ADMK as in the midst of an acute political crisis, senior ADMK leaders were busy on Tuesday attacking the state ruling DMK for the raids that were held against two former ADMK ministers SP Velumani and C Vijayabaskar at over dozens of places across the state. 

From ADMK's top leadership to hundreds of cadres, the state had witnessed protests against the DMK government and a war of words between a senior ADMK leader and a police officer who was stationed at the premises where the raid was being conducted. The teams of DVAC stormed into the residence of both the former ministers on Tuesday - September 13. 

The raids are being conducted based on the corruption charges lodged against them. The searches are being conducted at 39 premises belonging to these two leaders. According to reports, DVAC on September 12 registered a criminal case against C Vijayabaskar, who served as the Minister of Health and Family Welfare during the previous ADMK regime, in a corruption case over irregularities in the 'Issuance of Essentiality Certificate', when he was the minister in 2020. The essentiality certificate is a vital certification issued by the state government certifying the establishment of a new medical college and declaring that it can deliver medical education. 

It has been alleged that Vijayabaskar, a sitting ADMK MLA from Viralimalai, issued a falsified essentiality certificate to the Tiruvallur-based Vels Medical College and Hospital against the regulations of the National Medical Commission. It is with this corruption charge that an FIR has been filed against Vijayabaskar and based on the FIR, 13 properties linked to Vijayabaskar are being raided by the DVAC teams. Of these 13, five are in Chennai, three in Salem, and one each in Madurai, Theni, Pudukottai, Tiruvallur, and Tambaram. 

On the other hand, a handful of DVAC teams have been conducting searches at 26 places connected to former minister SP Velumani, who is a sitting MLA of Thondamuthur. He was facing raids over allegations that he had abused his official position in conferring tenders to his close associate companies while he was serving as the Minister for Municipal Administration. 

It has been alleged that his abuse of power has resulted in the loss of Rs 500 crore to the government's treasury and the tenders were issued to replace the existing street lights with LED lights in rural areas during the period between 2015 and 2018. The searches are being conducted at 26 places including ten in Chennai, nine in his home-turf Coimbatore, and seven places in Tambaram, Avadi, Trichy, and Chengalpet. 

As raids are being conducted against two former ministers, their supporters and hundreds of ADMK cadres have gathered before their residences and staged protests against the raids. Several police personnel have been deployed to these areas and to the places where the raids are underway. It is pertinent to note that SP Velumani is facing raids for the third time. DVAC raided his properties earlier this March for the second time and a case was registered against Velumani on the grounds of amassing Rs 58.93 crore disproportionately. 

Reaction from ADMK: 

The visuals on the ground have shown growing tensions across the state as hundreds of cadres have gathered before the residences of the former ministers and voiced against the DMK government for orchestrating the raids. On the protest land were several ADMK MLAs who joined the cadres and according to our sources, seven ADMK MLAs were detained by the police for protesting against the raids. Several cadres were also detained as the entire state was witnessing the developments. 

ADMK leaders arguing with the police as they arrive before the residence of former minister Vijayabaskar in Adyar, Chennai - Sep 13, 2022


ADMK's interim general secretary Edappadi Palaniswami has condemned the DVAC raids against the two former ministers and alleged that the DMK government is framing false cases against the ADMK leaders. Citing that the DMK government is focusing on a political vendetta, Palaniswami claimed that ADMK is ready to face the foisted cases legally. 

In a statement, Palaniswami said, "Instead of proceeding with the existing cases against his ministers, the Chief Minister is foisting cases against the opposition parties. Instead of continuing the welfare measures that were initiated when we were in power, the government is foisting cases." He further urged the police department to work fairly instead of supporting the ruling party. 

War of words between former ADMK Minister CV Shanmugam and a police officer as the former trying to enter Vijayabaskar's residence - Sep 13, 2022


Earlier in the day, there was a war of words between former ADMK Minister CV Shanmugam and a police officer who was stationed before a condominium that houses Vijayabaskar's residence in Adyar, Chennai. As this residence was also raided by the DVAC, several police personnel were deployed to beef up the security. After learning that his colleague's residence was raided, CV Shanmugam arrived to meet Vijayabaskar in his residence.

However, as visuals have shown, Shanmugam was blocked at the entrance by a police officer who banned the entry for the former minister on the grounds that the raid was underway. There were heated exchanges between the duo and Shanmugam claimed that he was there not to meet Vijayabaskar but for some other purpose and asked the police to let him in. He denied divulging the purpose of his visit and asked whether it is a democratic country.  

Senior ADMK leader Jayakumar addressing the reporters as he was surrounded by fellow party members in front of Vijayabaskar's residence - Sep 13, 2022


Shanmugam went on to clamour that he should be permitted as he is an advocate and moments later, Shanmugam was permitted to enter the premises. While addressing the reporters after meeting Vijayabaskar, CV Shanmugam said, "The raids were conducted against SP Velumani and Vijayabaskar due to political vendetta. The prices of property tax and electricity charges have surged heavily and people are watching." By citing that DMK can't escape from its wrongdoings, Shanmugam said that the DMK government is trying to oppress the opposition parties.