The AIADMK (Sasikala faction) is on the backfoot. This after an admission from a person named in the documents seized by the I-T Department in its raids on the properties of state Health Minister C Vijayabaskar.
The documents seized from Friday’s searches allegedly listed a number of people who had received money from the Health Minister. Among the beneficiaries was Dr P. Balaji, professor and head of the Department of Minimal Access Surgery at the Madras Medical College.
According to multiple media reports, the professor allegedly received Rs 5 lakh from the minister. Dr Balaji was part of the delegation, who along with British intensivist Dr Richard Beale explained late Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa's health issues to the media and public. In addition to this, he was reportedly responsible for attesting Jayalalithaa's thumbprint in forms submitted by AIADMK leaders for nominations in the Thanjavur, Aravakurichi and Thiruparankundram bye-elections.
After his name figured in the documents, Dr Balaji who spoke to The Hindu's Kannan on Monday, claimed, "The money was given to me by the Health Minister's personal assistant in order to pay off the hotel bill for Dr Richard Beale's stay. Beale was unhappy with his accommodation in Raintree hotel and wanted to shift to Taj Coromandel. But when the bill came, Apollo said they will not pay for it. So, I was forced to ask the Health Minister."
According to the professor, the bill for Dr Beale's stay from October 23 to November 2 came up to Rs 4.10 lakh." We also had to pay for the food which cost over Rs 10,000. The Minister's PA then took the rest of the money back," he told the reporter.
This explosive revelation, led to several questions regarding the authenticity of the documents recovered by the Income Tax department including a list that showed how much money had been spent on bribes in RK Nagar ahead of the bye-polls.
But a day after the professor's explanation, kicked up a storm, he backtracked. In a 'clarification' statement that he issued, Dr Balaji claimed that he did not receive any money from the Minister's personal assistant. "In this connection, I would like to refute the above baseless and false news, which was reported in the media," the statement read. "I affirm that, I have not received any money either as fee or otherwise as alleged," he claimed.
In an interview to Times Now over the authenticity of the documents recovered during the raid, Dr Balaji claimed, "I am not in a position to comment."
While the professor was not available for comment, the AIADMK refused to clarify their stand on the matter.