Chennai: Tamil Nadu’s ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) government is facing a slew of corruption charges, topped by last week’s Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) searches of the residences of health minister C. Vijayabaskar and director general of police T.K. Rajendran. The two are suspected of involvement in a multi-crore scam to allow the manufacture and sale of gutkha, which is banned in the state. Last year, tax authorities had searched Vijayabaskar’s properties over the same case.
Last week, the opposition Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) filed a complaint with the state Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC) against local administration minister S.P. Velumani for alleged “criminal misconduct, bribery, misappropriation and accumulation of disproportionate assets." The DMK accused Velumani of influencing government contracts to favour his own benami companies and laundering money. The Chennai Corporation racked up debt of ₹ 2,500 crore after Velumani took over and its surplus funds have vanished, DMK alleged.
DMK president M.K. Stalin had recently accused chief minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami, who holds charge of the highways portfolio, for not using the online tender system and manipulating tenders.
About seven companies, run by Velumani’s brother and close aides, have won government contracts worth hundreds of crores, the DMK complaint said, adding that this was the “fourth complaint given by the opposition party against the chief minister, deputy chief minister and the minsters for health and municipal administration."
In July, the income tax department raided the offices and properties of Nagarajan Seyyadurai, managing director of a firm called SPK and Co. Expressway Pvt. Ltd. SPK group director Subramaniam Palanisami is a close relative of the chief minister. The company has reportedly bagged several government contracts in the past few years.
“Corruption is prevalent in all departments in the AIADMK government and the ministers have been involved in all sorts of robbery except burgling houses," Stalin said on Saturday.
Palaniswami has, however, said the previous DMK government followed “single tender system in highways and public works department."
Vijayabaskar was on Friday appointed as one of the organising secretaries of the AIADMK.