The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in a coordinated raid at around 40 locations across Tamil Nadu, on Wednesday, carried out searches at the residences of state's health minister and the director general of police, in connection with a multi-crore Gutka scam case. However, police did not reveal the exact locations of the raids, saying it may hamper the ongoing investigation process into the case.
Health Minister C Vijayabaskar, DGP TK Rajendran, and a former senior police officer are among the people, raided by the CBI in the gutka scam involving bribes given at the top to skirt a ban on chewing tobacco. Besides that, the residences of several food-safety department officials are being searched in connection to the same.
The multi-crore Gutka scam came to notice last year in July after income tax sleuths raided the godown, offices and residences of a pan masala and gutka manufacturer in Tamil Nadu, who had been facing charges of tax evasion to the tune of Rs 250 crore.
During the raids, the department had seized a diary containing names of those who allegedly took bribes from the gutka manufacturers. Post that the case was sent to the CBI by the Madras High Court in April this year on the plea of a DMK leader.
In 2013, the Tamil Nadu government prohibited the manufacture, storage and sale of the chewable forms of tobacco, including gutka and pan masala.
The agency had registered an FIR against unidentified officials of the Tamil Nadu government, Central Excise Department and the Food Safety Department in May.
(With inputs from agencies)