In the midst of an intra-political crisis, Tamil Nadu's opposition ADMK has been in trouble of back-to-back raids conducted by the state's premier corruption watchdog Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC). The agency has raided several former ADMK ministers under various corruption charges and in the latest episode, two former ADMK ministers SP Velumani and C Vijayabaskar have come under the scanner.
The teams of DVAC stormed into the residence of both the former ministers on Tuesday - September 13 and the development had attracted major attention with several ADMK cadres assembling before the residences and protesting against the raids. What we know so far is that 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 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.
The raids are also underway at the premises that belong to Vijayabaskar's friend Dr Balaji Nadhan in Madurai. On the other hand, a separate team from DVAC is conducting searches at 26 places connected to former minister SP Velumani, who is a sitting MLA from 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.