Just four days ahead of the Tamil Nadu Assembly Elections 2021, the income tax department raided four places in Chennai linked to DMK, including the coast-side residence son-in-law of MK Stalin, Sabareesan, sources aware of developments said. The places of residence raided include that of the son of DMK’s Anna Nagar candidate, Mohan.
Sources said one of the premises raided includes a residence belonging to Sabareesan where election strategist Prashant Kishor holds his strategy meetings with the DMK.
The DMK had earlier alleged this was “political vendetta” of the BJP when income tax officials had recently raided properties linked to DMK strongman EV Velu. Income tax officials had made cash seizures during the raids at 10 locations at his hometown Tiruvannamalai. The 70-year-old is seeking re-election from the Tiruvannamalai constituency.
Along with Arunai Engineering College in Tiruvannamalai, which Velu founded in 1993, a guest house where Stalin stayed for some time, was raided.
The opposition party dubbed these raids ‘politically-motivated’.
“Conducting searches in the room where the DMK chief stayed in the guest house is inappropriate and undemocratic. Nothing has been seized,” said DMK leader Durai Murugan.
DMK spokesperson C Ravindran said that use of power to threaten the Opposition has been a trend of the Bharatiya Janata Party alliance. “Since the BJP government came to power, their practice has been to use government institutions during elections to threaten the opposition,” he said.
The development comes just days ahead of Tamil Nadu Assembly elections. Sabareesan has been a close adviser of Stalin and is known to be a key strategist for DMK. The properties of the DMK leader were searched around the same time MK Stalin was campaigning for him for the 6 April election.
Tamil Nadu goes to polls on 6 April. The DMK hopes to come back to power ten years after the late J Jayalalithaa stormed to power in 2011.