New Delhi/Chennai, Sep 5: The Central Bureau of Investigation on Wednesday launched a massive search operation at 40 locations in Tamil Nadu in connection with multicrore gutka scam.
Houses of Tamil Nadu DGP TK Rajendran at Mogappair, Former-DGP S George near Maduravoyal, Health Minister C Vijayabaskar and other police officers were also raided.
“Separate CBI teams conducted simultaneous raids at 40 locations in Tamil Nadu early in the morning in Gutkha scam. The raid is still on,” CBI spokesperson Abhishek Dayal told IANS.
The probe officials in Chennai stated, the raids were at 30 places, officials in New Delhi put the number at 40.
The searches were conducted at the godowns, offices and residences of pan masala and gutkha manufacturers in Tamil Nadu.
In May, the CBI had filed a case against unknown officials of Central Excise, Tamil Nadu government, Food Safety Department, public servants and private persons under charges of criminal conspiracy of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act following the order of the Madras High Court on April 26.
The probe agency has been investigating into all aspects of the offence of illegal manufacture, import, supply, distribution and sale of gutkha and other forms of chewable tobacco which are prohibited in Tamil Nadu and Union Territory of Puducherry.
Last year in July, the scam came into the limelight after Income-Tax officers raided a pan masala and gutkha manufacturer in Tamil Nadu, who has been facing charges of evading tax to the tune of Rs 250 crore.
In 2013, the Tamil Nadu government banned the manufacture, storage and sale of the chewable forms of tobacco, including gutkha and pan masala.