The Chennai city police interrogated about 750 people and registered cases against 722 people on Saturday for allegedly dealing in banned tobacco products, reported The Times of India.
This comes a day after DMK leader MK Stalin raised this issue in the assembly, after which, Chief Minister Edapaddi Palanisamy ordered the police to conduct raids on Gutka sellers in Chennai.
The Times of India reported that the raids also helped the police find black money from a Gutka seller in Vepery. Prajesh Kumar Tiwari was booked for selling banned tobacco products, but during the raid the police also seized Rs. 50 lakh in cash, 400 kg of gold along with 120 kg of maava and 60 kg of zarda. Police also found bond papers worth Rs. 52 lakhs. However, Prajesh has been absconding and police is searching for him. According to an official, Tiwari managed to escape when police reached his house. The Income Tax department was alerted about the cash seized.
The police also seized Rs. 1.7 lakh and confiscated maava and Gutka worth Rs. 10.4 lakh from other places in the city. The police have started a campaign against the sellers of banned Gutka products and the raids will ongoing in the coming days.
On July 8 last year, raids were conducted at the godown, offices and residences of a pan masala and gutka manufacturer in Tamil Nadu, who was facing charges of evading tax to the tune of Rs 250 crore.
Seized during the raid was a diary containing names of those who were believed to have been paid off by the gutka manufacturers and it also allegedly had the name of Tamil Nadu health minister Vijayabaskar.
The documents also stated that about Rs. 40 crore was paid to the minister and many officials to facilitate the sale of banned gutka products in Chennai. Former police commissioner S George and DGP TK Rajendran have also been named in the case so far.