IT raids on Sasikala's kin, associates enter 3rd day

The present estimate was given on 13 November, after there has been speculation that the raids have not been able to find out anything worthwhile and hence there was silence.

"We have seized Rs 7 crore in cash, and gold jewellery worth around Rs 5 crore", the senior tax official told IANS on the condition of anonymity.

Also, tax officials are yet to assess the value of immovable properties identified and the valuables in 15 lockers that are yet to be opened. These companies have been floated by the family members of Sasikala and have been working on a minimum capital.

On Thursday, a team of around 1,800 IT officials knocked at the doors of 187 premises - residences and offices and farmhouses - to carry out one of the biggest income tax searches on Sasikala's kin and associates.

"We have found tax evasion of Rs 1,430 crore, as of now".

"Vivek was planning to make Jaya TV and Jaya News neutral organisations by moving away from their earlier avatar as AIADMK mouthpieces", said a source aware of the internal workings of Jaya TV. But, very significantly, the channel turned into a bitter critic of the E Palaniswami government after the rift with the rebel group led by O Panneerselvam was sealed.

Making a brief statement to mediapersons outside his residence in Mahalingapuram here, for the first time since the search operation was launched, Mr. Jayaraman, who is the son of Illavarasi, the sister-in-law of jailed AIADMK leader V.K. Sasikala, said, "The I-T officials did their duty and we did ours by responding to their queries". Vivek was also taken to the I-T investigation wing office in Nungambakkam for questioning.

After analysis of the documents seized and clarifications obtained, tax demand would be raised and if the party pays the tax amount, including the penalty, the case would be closed depending on the other issues connected with the evasion, an official told IANS. He is the son of Ilaivarasi, who is also now in jail with Sasikala, and Sasikala's brother Jayaraman, who is no more.

While Dhinakaran has been blaming the BJP and estranged AIADMK leaders, including Tamil Nadu chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami, for the tax raids and police action against Sasikala's family members, Jayaraman said he did not think the raids were politically motivated.

The Income Tax department has, however, denied any political links and claimed the raids to be a part of the "clean money drive".

Vanessa Coleman