Amid being brought under the scanner by Tamil Nadu's Anti-Corruption squad, a close associate of former ADMK Minister SP Velumani has been admitted to a hospital in Coimbatore. His hospitalization had come at a high time when a complaint has been filed against the associate along with the former minister on the allegations of corruption. On Tuesday, the state-run Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC) had stormed into the residences of former minister SP Velumani and conducted searches.
SP Velumani had served as the Minister for Municipal Administration during the previous ADMK regime and he is one of the bigheads of ADMK, close to former Chief Minister and current Opposition leader Edappadi Palaniswami. The raids at his properties have come weeks after a similar scale of searches conducted by DVAC at the residence of former ADMK Minister MR Vijayabaskar. The residences of some of the corporation officials had also come under the scanner. Amid conducting the raids, the DVAC had filed an FIR against Velumani and 17 others in connection to the irregularities and graft case.
The searches are being conducted at the residences of Velumani's close associates and contractors who had taken projects worth several crores of rupees in Chennai and Coimbatore Corporations. The FIR had named Velumani as Accused No 1 and it has shockingly revealed Velumani's empire. According to the FIR, the Greater Chennai Corporation and the Coimbatore Corporation had allotted tenders worth Rs 811 crore to companies closely associated with Velumani, when he was the minister of the Municipal Administration, from 2014 to 2018.
The list of accused includes P Anbarasan, who is Velumani's brother and a partner in P Senthil and Co, the company started by Velumani's family in 1999. Among the list of 17 people who were mentioned in the FIR is Velumani's close associate Chandra Prakash, who is the Managing Director of the KCP Engineers. The DVAC sleuths had also conducted raids at the properties that belong to KCP Engineers in Chennai and the authorities had said that there were clear links between SP Velumani's family and KCP Engineers, which won several tenders of Chennai and Coimbatore Corporations, under the influence of Velumani.
In the FIR, the DVAC had also revealed that the revenue of KCP Engineers, which was at Rs 42 crore in 2012, stood at Rs 453 crore in 2018. According to reports, after knowing that the properties are raided and a case was filed against him, Chandra Prakash had got admitted to a hospital in Coimbatore. The news of his hospitalization had stirred a debate that he has been admitted to the hospital after fearing consequences and evading the corruption case.
The FIR further says that the tenders worth Rs 464.02 crore of the Greater Chennai Corporation were given to the companies run by the close associates of Velumani while these companies won the tenders worth Rs 346.81 crore in the Coimbatore Corporation. The DVAC had highlighted that while accepting these tenders, the tender authorities had deliberately defied the Tamil Nadu Transparency Act, TN Transparency in Tender Rules, Guidelines of Central Vigilance Commission, and engineering manual of Tamil Nadu.
The DVAC had noted that these violations have happened under the direct watch and influence of SP Velumani. The authorities had also found that the companies close to Velumani had attained growth at a skyrocketing pace while he was serving as the minister in the ADMK government. On the other hand, ADMK cadres and supporters had staged protests against the raids on SP Velumani in Coimbatore and Chennai. They ransacked the barricades and squabbled with the police officers to display their allegiance to the former minister. According to reports, the DVAC had brought more places under its scanner. Initially, it was conducting searches at 52 places close to Velumani, the searches are also being conducted in eight new places taking the total numbers to 60.