The AIADMK has condemned a case filed by the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption wing on Monday, October 18 against C Vijayabaskar, who was the Health Minister in the previous AIADMK government, for possession of disproportionate assets to the tune of Rs 27.22 crore. The opposition party alleged that it was yet another instance of DMK regime's political vendetta. Vijayabaskar is the fourth former AIADMK Minister to face a case of disproportionate assets. Filing an FIR against him and his spouse as well, anti-graft sleuths held searches in 50 locations spread across seven districts of Tamil Nadu. The locations included Vijayabaskar's residence and premises linked to his relatives and associates.
AIADMK top leaders O Panneerselvam and K Palaniswami condemned the raids and case, saying it showed political vendetta, and an effort to get 'temporary happiness'.
Stating that the DMK government “could not tolerate the state-wide celebrations of the AIADMK's golden jubilee celebrations” among cadres, they said, "The AIADMK is a great organisation, similar to a fathomless ocean." They added that the party would not be cowed down by the DMK regime's raids.
Though the DMK may “spread slander and whatever may be the case against as many party office-bearers, we would like to convey that no one will be able to stop the huge victories of the AIADMK in future,” the leaders said.
The AIADMK's legal wing joint secretary RM Babu Murugavel said the case against Vijayabaskar is yet another instance of DMK government's political vendetta. "The FIR against Vijayabaskar is nothing but mere accusations. We will fight the case legally and win," he told PTI. Murugavel, a former MLA and party's legal advisory committee member, said the DMK government could not tolerate the enthusiasm of his party, which is celebrating the golden jubilee of its founding.
Objecting to the searches at Vijayabaskar's residence, where the former Minister's wife and elder daughter were being treated for COVID-19, the advocate said it was a gross violation of human rights. Vijayabaskar, who is also the AIADMK's organisational secretary and Pudukottai north district secretary, was elected from Viralimalai Assembly constituency in the Cauvery delta district for a third time in a row in the Assembly election held in April this year.
During the search operation on Monday, Rs 23.85 lakh cash, 10 hard discs and other documents were seized, an official release said. Also, 4.87 kg of gold items, Registration Certificates of 136 commercial vehicles and other property documents were 'identified.'
According to the FIR, a verification process revealed that Vijayabaskar accumulated maximum assets, 'intentionally enriched himself' during the check period from April 1, 2016 to March 31, 2021. Vijayabaskar's wife Ramya, by holding properties like an apartment, by making investments in partnership firms, banks, insurance policies, 'intentionally abetted' her husband, it said.
The former minister, during the period, possessed pecuniary resources and properties in his name and in the name of his dependent wife to the tune of Rs 27.22 crore, which is disproportionate income, it said. Listing 13 educational institutions in Pudukottai district, established by a trust formed by Vijayabaskar's family members, the FIR said a 'reasonable suspicion' arose that these institutions were established by Vijayabaskar under the guise of this trust using the 'ill-gotten money.'
A prima facie case is made out and sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act and the IPC are invoked, the FIR said. The searches were held in Chennai, Chengalpattu, Kanchipuram, Coimbatore, Tiruchirappalli, Madurai and Pudukottai districts. "Each team in every location comprises at least six personnel in addition to policemen deployed for security purposes," a vigilance official told PTI. Totally, over 250 personnel were involved in search operations.
Asked if any documents or materials have been seized during searches, the official said "the process of consolidation is ongoing in 48 locations."
After the DMK captured power in May 2021, similar cases of disproportionate assets were already filed against KC Veeramani, SP Velumani and MR Vijayabaskar, all former ministers during the previous AIADMK regime. Searches had been carried out by the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption personnel in premises related to them.