Income tax officials on Monday seized Rs 11.53 crore unaccounted cash from a cement warehouse allegedly belonging to an associate of a DMK leader in Tamil Nadu's Vellore district, just days before the April 18 elections. Officials suspect the cash was meant for distribution among voters in Vellore to ensure a win for Kathir Anand, who is contesting as a DMK candidate in the seat.
Kathir Anand is the son of senior DMK leader and party treasurer Duraimurugan, who was raided by tax officials on Saturday. At least Rs 10.50 lakh of alleged "excess" cash was recovered from properties belonging to Duraimurugan, including a college owned by Kathir Anand, on Saturday, official said.
Officials said they suspect the cash seized on Monday could have been shifted on the intervening night of March 29 and 30 from Kathir Anand's college, which was searched on March 30.
Duraimurugan alleged the raids were a "conspiracy" by some political leaders who could not face them in the electoral arena. "My candidate son could not campaign over the last three days. It's a politically motivated raid by a nervous BJP government," he said.
"The case is fabricated. It's a put-up case. We will prove," senior leader and Rajya Sabha parliamentarian RS Bharathi told NDTV. The DMK leader also questioned the timing of the raid.
MK Stalin on Monday criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for what the DMK chief said was "misusing" the income tax department to target political opponents. A few days ago, Rs 15 crore was recovered from the home of government contractor, Sabesan. Tax officials do not rule out that this was meant for buying voters. However, the contractor's political affiliation is not clear, official said.
Tamil Nadu already leads in unaccounted cash seizure before the elections. Last week, it had touched Rs 130 crore.
The development comes days after tax raids led to a political storm in neighbouring Karnataka. Tax officials had carried out pre-dawn raids at 15 to 20 locations in Karnataka, including Bengaluru, Mandya, Mysuru, Hassan, Ramanagar and Shivamogga, on Thursday.
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