Hours after launching the unprecedented raids in the properties of DMK President MK Stalin's daughter Senthamarai and DMK candidates Senthil Balaji and Mohan, the Income Tax Department has on Friday evening issued a statement concerning the raids and the grounds under which the properties are searched. The department has said that these individuals are assisting in political cash distribution.
In the morning hours of Friday, the IT sleuths had stormed the residence of Stalin's daughter Senthamarai and son-in-law Sabareesan in Neelankarai on the outskirts of Chennai. Over 25 officials were involved in the search and apart from Senthamarai's residence, the officials had also conducted the raids at four places in Chennai including the residence of Mohan, who is the DMK's candidate in the upcoming assembly polls contesting from the Anna Nagar constituency.
In what has become an unprecedented operation, the IT sleuths had unveiled back-to-back raids at the properties of DMK leaders. Amid the raid in Chennai, another team of IT officials had arrived at the residence of DMK's Karur candidate Senthil Balaji in Karur. As the sleuths had stormed the residences of DMK leaders four days ahead of the crucial assembly polls, the raids had stirred outrage from the opposition leaders as they had flayed the Center and Prime Minister Modi for intimidating the DMK through raids.
The opposition leaders have claimed that the raids are politically motivated and an attempt to suppress the DMK leaders. Amid the outrage, the Income Tax Department has issued a statement on Friday evening concerning why it had raided the properties of the DMK leaders. In the statement, it has said, "Today (Friday), the Chennai Directorate of Income Tax has conducted searches on three different groups and a few individuals in Tamil Nadu".
The IT department stated, "These groups and individuals are involved in businesses ranging from running distilleries and breweries, real estate, local financing, solar power EPC to handling cash of politically exposed persons for the ongoing elections". "Part of these groups and individuals are alleged to have been actively assisting in political cash distribution. Searches have been conducted to verify and unearth such activities too", the IT department added.
The IT further said, "All the premises are in Chennai, Coimbatore, and Karur. Several incriminating materials on tax evasion have been found so far. A total of 28 premises are covered under 132 of the IT act". According to reports, the searches at the residences of Stalin's daughter Senthamarai, Senthil Balaji, and Mohan had lasted for a day and the IT sleuths had also conducted searches at the residence of Annadurai, DMK MP of Tiruvannamalai. The raids have come a week after similar searches at the properties of senior DMK leader EV Velu.
The reports say that the IT officials had recovered Rs 1.36 lakh from the residence of Stalin's daughter. Amid the raids, DMK MP RS Bharathi had written a letter to the Election Commission against the searches. He wrote, "The Income Tax department has been used as a sword and as a pawn in the hands of the ruling BJP party and there are no reasons as to why these searches are being conducted few days before the election date". Bharathi further penned that the raids were against the Model Code of Conduct and a violation of the Representation of People's Act 1951.
On Friday, DMK President MK Stalin had strongly hit out at Prime Minister Modi. While speaking at a campaign rally in Ariyalur, Stalin said, "I am telling Modi, this is DMK. Don't forget it. I am Karunanidhi's son. I won't get scared about such raids". By referring to his imprisonment during the Emergency period, Stalin said, "This is a Stalin who has come through MISA and Emergency. We won't get scared regardless of how many raids you conduct. There are only four days for the election and they (Modi and ADMK) think that they can somehow threaten us and keep us at home. This won't happen with the DMK. It will only happen in ADMK". Stalin went on to flay the state ruling ADMK for getting intimidated by the tactics of the BJP ruling Central government.
DMK's Youth Wing Secretary Udhayanidhi Stalin had also flayed the Central government and the Prime Minister. On Friday, Udhayanidhi Stalin had tossed a challenge to the IT department to come to his residence and conduct a raid if it dares. He said, "Mr. Modi and Mr. Amit Shah, I am not Edappadi Palaniswami or OPS (O Panneerselvam) to fear you or to bow down to you. I am Udhayanidhi Stalin and I am the grandson of Kalaignar. I will be not be scared of your intimidation. Do whatever you can". By addressing the voters, he said, "You would have seen the television, there was an IT raid in my sister Senthamarai's residence. I am giving another challenge. You (IT officials) have gone. I am giving the address of my residence. Come to my residence and launch the raid if you dare. I will show you what I have".