The fraud was exposed by ”The Hindu” in its report “I-T probe unearths payment of bribes to TN Minister, officials for gutkha sale” published on June 27, 2017.
In a significant disclosure, the Income Tax Department has informed the Madras High Court that its report to former Director General of Police Ashok Kumar on the details of corruption involving Tamil Nadu Health Minister, top police officers and others in the gutkha scam was found during a recent search in ‘Veda Nilayam’, residence of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, in Chennai.
On specific information that some persons had conspired to “clandestinely” remove crucial evidence from ‘Veda Nilayam’, Income Tax officials conducted searches on the premises on the night of November 17, 2017. While searching the rooms occupied by Jayalalithaa’s close aide V.K. Sasikala, the officials found a note dated September 2, 2016 signed by the former DGP and addressed to the then Chief Minister enclosing a copy of the “secret letter” dated August 11, 2016, of the Principal Director e Tax (Investigation).
This information has been disclosed in an affidavit submitted by Susie Babu Varghese, Principal Director of Income Tax (Investigation), in the court on Friday.
Gutkha manufacturer’s statement
In the affidavit, the Income Tax Department said that Madhava Rao, manufacturer of the MDM brand of gutkha, in a sworn statement before its officials stated that “he had paid a sum of ₹ 56 lakh to the Health Minister, Government of Tamil Nadu, between the period 01.04.2016 and 15.06.2016 … He stated that the payments were made to various officials and explained that the abbreviation of HM and CP as Health Minister of Tamil Nadu and Commissioner for Police, respectively.”
The affidavit debunks the submission of the State government in the court that no Income Tax Department report on gutkha scam existed in record.
Former Chief Secretary P. Rama Mohana Rao had confirmed to The Media that the Income Tax Department had indeed submitted a report to the government and he forwarded it to Jayalalithaa and that she wanted to take action against the erring persons.
The gutkha scam was exposed by The Media in its report “I-T probe unearths payment of bribes to TN Minister, officials for gutkha sale” published on June 27, 2017.