Sasikala clan invested Rs 1430 crore in 'dirty money' in realty

The raids were conducted at 187 places under 'Operation Clean Money, ' by a team of 1,800 IT officials.

While the searches had come to an end at most of the places by Sunday, they continued at about five places on Monday, including the Jaya TV office and Jayaraman's home. IT department launched one of the biggest searches covering members, business establishments, business associates, aides and supporters of the powerful Sasikala family.

The I-T department conducted raids on the Sasikala clan and premises of Jaya TV, whose CEO and Managing Director Vivek Jayaraman is the nephew of the AIADMK leader, earlier last week. Vivek, who is linked with several shell companies allegedly run by the Mannargudi Family, was confronted with documents concerning several firms before Shivakumar and Poonkundran late on Monday evening.

They also said Rs 7 crore and jewellery worth over Rs 5 crore were seized during the searches and that 15 bank lockers and diamond jewellery were kept under "prohibitory orders". From the Chennai house of Dhivaharan's daughter Rajamathangi, the sleuths seized documents pertaining to the import of a fleet of foreign cars.

Responding to it, Sasikala's nephew TTV Dhinakaran told CNN-News18, "These raids are being done for political vendetta".

"I was questioned by the officers though nothing was recovered from my residence".

Confirming the seizure of documents and gold, a senior income tax official refused to reveal the value of seizures, saying that the raid was not over.

An I-T source meanwhile told The New Indian Express that around 60 shell companies have been identified by them. Apart from papers, sleuths also uncovered precious stones and cash from unused hostel rooms in Sengamala Thayaar Educational Trust Women's College.

"We have to complete our work in the premises where search operations were carried out", he added. "But the details of these seizures can not be confirmed now", the official said.

IT department sources said that Poongundran, Shivakumar and Pugalendhi were summoned for further questioning over the documents seized during the raids.

Vanessa Coleman