Vigilance and Anti-Corruption raids on one more former Tamil Nadu Minister just ahead of Budget session of Assembly

Published : August 10, 2021 09:53 IST

S.P. Velumani, former Minister of the AIADMK. Photo: Siva Saravanan S.

The Tamil Nadu Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC) today raided houses and business establishments associated with the powerful former Minister S.P. Velumani of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) in over 50 locations in the State. The raids were carried out on the basis of complaints filed in 2018 by the NGO Arappor Iyakkam and R.S. Bharati, a DMK functionary.

The action was described by the DVAC as “part of a preliminary investigation”. The raids, which began at around 6 a.m. on August 10, come just ahead of the commencement of the Budget session of the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly on August 13.

The DVAC had filed a first information report (FIR) on the basis of the complaints under the Prevention of Corruption Act. The complaint is that Velumani misused his position as Minister and gave away contracts to his brother and people close to him. One charge against the then Local Administration Minister is that during the period from 2014 to 2018, he gave away contracts in the Chennai Corporation worth over Rs.400 crore to companies and people close to him. He did not follow due process. As many as 10 companies and seven individuals have been named in the FIR. There is a similar charge in the case of the Coimbatore Corporation, too, with contracts amounting to nearly Rs.350 crore.

Apart from the residences of Velumani and his brother Anbarasan, the premises of S.P. Builders and K.C.P. Engineers (later KCP Infra Limited) and the residences of the firm’s managing director Chandraprakash, and R. Chandrasekar, the Minister’s close associate and an AIADMK functionary, were subjected to raids.

Thousands of AIDMK cadre gathered in front of the residence of the former Minister in Coimbatore to protest against “police highhandedness”. But since the gate of the house was locked from the inside by the DVAC, the investigation team went about its job without hindrance.

Velumani is the second Minister to be raided by the DVAC after the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) came to power in May. The first was former Transport Minister M.R. Vijayabhaskar. The DVAC claimed that it had unearthed cash and other valuables from Vijyabhaskar.

Ever since the AIADMK was defeated in the May 2021 Assembly election, many former Ministers have either gone silent or have kept a low profile. One former Minister, Thoppu Venkatachalam, joined the DMK, while former Minister ‘Mafoi’ K. Pandiarajan has said that he is taking a break from politics to concentrate on his business. In another case, unrelated to the discharge of his duties as a Minister, former Minister M. Manikandan had been arrested on a complaint filed by a Malaysian woman for criminally intimidating her.

Yet another former Minister, Rajendra Balaji, who was camping in Delhi for most of the past week, had a lot of explaining to do as to why he was seeking an audience with the BJP leadership. While some within the AIADMK believe that the former Minister wanted to join the BJP to escape persecution by the DMK government, the party leadership officially clarified that he was with the AIADMK.

An AIADMK functionary, ‘Aspire’ Swaminathan, who was appointed by former AIADMK general secretary Jayalaithaa as head of the party’s newly-formed IT wing in 2014, had announced his decision to quit the party recently.

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