Income Tax Officials Raid Jayalalithaa's Chennai Home, Search Sasikala's Rooms

Today's Income Tax department raid at Jayalalithaa's Poes Garden home are seen as a follow-up to the mega raids over the past week at Jaya TV and Sasikala's relatives. Tax officials had then spoken of detecting undisclosed income of Rs. 1,430 crore including over Rs. 7 crore in cash jewellery worth over Rs 5 crores.

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Policemen outside ex-Chief Minister Jayalalithaa's Poes Garden house in Chennai during income tax raids

CHENNAI: 

Highlights

  1. Tax officials search Poes Garden home amid huge tax evasion probe
  2. Only rooms of Sasikala, Jayalalithaa's secretary searched, say officials
  3. Had said they found Rs 1,430 crore in undeclared wealth in raids earlier
Days after raids at Jaya TV and family members of jailed AIADMK party leader VK Sasikala, income tax officials landed at former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa's Poes Garden residence in Chennai on Friday evening. The limited their search to two rooms that were used by Sasikala and a third room used by the AIADMK matriarch's personal secretary S Poongundran.

Jayalalithaa's long-time aide, Sasikala, had continued to live in this house after Jayalalithaa's death last December till she was sent to jail by the Supreme Court in a corruption case.

Income tax department sources indicated the raids were carried out after inputs that electronic storage devices were being clandestinely moved out of the premises.

"It was a limited exercise... We searched only the office of S Poongundran and two rooms of Sasikala. The search has concluded," a senior tax official told NDTV.

The official said a laptop, a desktop computer and four pen drives had been seized and were being scrutinised.

Today's searches are seen as a follow-up to the mega raids carried out by tax officials last week at Jaya TV and Sasikala's relatives. Of the 187 locations that were searched over a five-day period, one of them was Mr Poongundran residence. Officials said he was also questioned later.

Income Tax officials were reported to have detected undisclosed income of Rs. 1,430 crore in respect of ten assesse groups which included those linked to jailed AIADMK leader VK Sasikala, her brother VK Divakaran and his associates. Those searches had also led the tax department to several shell companies floated by the Sasikala family.

Though Jaya TV had been the mouthpiece of the AIADMK for years, the channel turned a bitter critic of the E Palaniswami government after he joined hands with the rebel group led by O Panneerselvam, eventually edging out Dhinakaran and his aunt Sasikala from their posts in the party.

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TTV Dhinakaran, who has been sidelined in the AIADMK following a dramatic year of political turmoil within the party since the death of Ms Jayalalithaa, said the tax raids at Poes Garden "for whatever reason is a betrayal to Jayalalithaa's soul". Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edapaddi Palaniswamy and his deputy O Panneerselvam are "behind this betrayal", he tweeted.

Supporters of Sasikala also flocked to Poes Garden against the raids but a large posse of policemen deployed around the house kept them at a distance and later detained them.

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