Just days ahead of the Tamil Nadu Assembly elections, Income Tax department (I-T) officers conducted searches at the house and office of DMK President and chief ministerial candidate MK Stalin’s daughter and his son-in-law, Senthamarai and Sabareesan, on Friday, 2 April.
Reacting to the raids, the DMK complained to the Election Commission, calling it an "abuse of power" by the Income Tax department.
WHO WAS RAIDED?
Sabareesan, who is a close advisor of Stalin and is also known to be a key strategist for the DMK, maintains a low profile. Locations linked to his associates, Karthik and Bala, were also searched, NDTV reported.
Apart from their residence at Neelankarai on East Coast Road in Chennai, I-T officials also conducted searches on the office premises in Teynampet and two more places.
Over 25 Income Tax officers reportedly conducted searches at Sabareesan and Senthamarai’s properties.
STALIN WEIGHS IN, ACCUSES PM OF COLLUDING WITH OFFICIALS
Later on Friday, 2 April, MK Stalin criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and accused him of "colluding" with officials to conduct raids on DMK functionaries.
The party chief asserted that his party cannot be intimated by such threats, contrasting his party with the AIADMK, whose offices were also raided by I-T officials earlier.
“I am telling Modi, this is DMK. Don’t forget it. I am Karunanidhi’s son. I won’t get scared about such things. This is a Stalin who has seen MISA and the Emergency. It doesn’t matter how many raids you conduct. We won’t get scared. There are only three-four days for the election,” Stalin said.
The party chief also took to social media platform Twitter and said, that with BJP’s electoral loss certain and in the absence of people's support, the party is misusing its powers.
'I-T BEING USED AS A PAWN': DMK APPROACHES EC
Meanwhile, the DMK also complained to the Election Commission of India, alleging that tax officials had entered Senthamarai's residence forcibly.
In their complaint to the poll body, the party said, "The income tax department has been used as a sword and as a pawn in the hands of the ruling BJP party and there are no reasons as to why these searches are being conducted few days before the election date viz 6.4.2021," IANS quoted.
This is the second instance of tax raids ahead of the Tamil Nadu polls, which is an electoral contest between the ruling AIADMK, comprising of the the BJP and opposition DMK.
In March, senior DMK leader and candidate EV Velu was also raided on the basis of "credible inputs of cash movement". I-T officials claimed that a large amount of cash was seized from the leader.
Tamil Nadu goes to polls on 6 April, and the results will be declared on 2 May.