The CBI on Tuesday arrested Sivakumar, a health inspector with the TN Food Safety department in connection with the multi-crore Gutkha scam. He is the sixth person to be apprehended by the CBI in connection with the case.
According to reports, Sivakumar had approached the Supreme Court challenging the transfer of the probe to the CBI. The case was transferred to the CBI by the Madras High Court in May and the agency registered an FIR the same month. Sivakumar has been remanded to judicial custody till October 4.
The CBI had, on September 6, arrested five people in connection with the scam. Promoters of Jayam Industries AV Madhavrao, Uma Shankar Gupta and Srinivas Rao, Dr Senthil Murugan of the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) and NK Pandian, Superintendent in the Central Excise Department were arrested a day after the CBI conducted raids in around 35 locations across the country.
Jayam Industries was involved in the manufacture of gutkha before it was banned by the Government of Tamil Nadu in May 2013. Following the ban on gutkha, the company allegedly changed its name to Annamalai Industries and continued its business by bribing the officials concerned. Many officials from the sales tax department, FSSAI, police and the Department of Central Excise and Customs were accused of having received bribes in the case.
The scam came out in the open following Income Tax raids conducted on July 8, 2017, at the godown, offices and residences of a pan masala and gutkha manufacturer in Tamil Nadu, for tax evasion to the tune of Rs 250 crore.
Meanwhile, the Tiruvallur police has activated a separate mobile number to alert them on the illegal sale of gutkha and other banned tobacco-based substances. The complaints can be registered at 9444042322.