- Searches started at 8 am at four places in Chennai owned by Sabareesan
- One of the places being searched is a home in Neelangara
- Sources say there were inputs on movement of cash related to election
DMK chief MK Stalin's son-in-law was raided by Income Tax officials today, just four days before the Tamil Nadu election. Searches started around 8 am at four places in Chennai owned by Sabareesan and his associates. The DMK has complained to the Election Commission, calling it "abuse of power" by the Income Tax department.
Tax officials were "working for the poll prospects of the AIADMK-BJP under the garb of discharge of their duties," the Tamil Nadu opposition party alleged, urging the election body to restrain the tax department.
Among the premises searched by taxmen was the home of Mr Stalin's daughter Senthamarai and Sabareesan in Neelangarai, just outside Chennai. Tax department sources told NDTV there were inputs on the movement of cash related to the election campaign.
Locations linked to the associates of Sabareesan, Karthik and Bala, were also searched. Karthik is the son of the DMK candidate from Annanagar, Mohan.
Sabareesan is a key DMK strategist and adviser to Mr Stalin. The DMK chief said people would "give a clear verdict on April 6 for this miscalculation".
"I am MK Stalin. This Stalin has faced Emergency and MISA. I won't be scared because of these IT Raids. PM Modi should know that we aren't AIADMK leaders who prostrate themselves before him," said Mr Stalin on the searches at his daughter's home, referring to a controversial law used by the then Congress government during the Emergency to crack down on politicians.
Speaking at a rally in Perambalur, he said: "Today morning I came to Trichy from Chennai. I got news of a raid going on at my daughter's house in Chennai. The (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi government is saving the AIADMK government now...I want to tell Modi that this is DMK, don't forget that, I'm the son of Kalaignar (late DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi). I will not be scared like this,"
A large number of DMK leaders and supporters gathered at the Neelangarai home as a show of support. Mr Stalin also retweeted what appeared to be crowds at a DMK rally.
A gentle reminder about how Tamil Nadu reacts after a raid by any Central Agency ???????? pic.twitter.com/A0xGMHxCMV— Sriram (@SriramMadras) April 2, 2021
The searches come a day after Mr Stalin's son Udhayanidhi, at a rally near Coimbatore, questioned what he called the exponential rise in the wealth of Union Home Minister Amit Shah's son Jay Shah.
"Instead of my sister, why don't you guys come and raid my home. I dare you guys. I am Kalaignar's grandson. We won't be scared by these raids," Udhayanidhi Stalin said.
This is the second instance of tax raids ahead of the April 6 election, which is mainly a contest between the ruling AIADMK that has an alliance with the BJP, and the main opposition DMK, which is fighting with the Congress.
Last month, senior DMK leader and candidate EV Velu was raided on the basis of what Income Tax officials called "credible inputs of cash movement". Officials claimed a large amount of cash was seized from the politician.
Income tax officials conducted searches at over 10 locations including EV Velu's home in Tiruvannamalai, his constituency. The 70-year-old is seeking re-election from the constituency.
The DMK leader was raided around the same time Mr Stalin campaigned for him and the place where the DMK chief stayed was also searched.
"Conducting searches in the room where DMK chief MK Stalin stayed shows their intention. Nothing has been seized. This won't stop our victory," DMK general secretary Duraimurugan had said on the raids.
The results of the Tamil Nadu election will be declared declared on May 2.