Hours after Income Tax officials began to raid establishments belonging to the Sasikala family on Thursday, the TTV Dhinakaran faction has alleged political vendetta. Their lawyer Kasimanabharathi has further told the media that they will not bow down to scare tactics and will face the issue in court.
Raids are on in about 80 locations, including 20 office premises of Jaya TV, Jazz Cinemas and Namadhu MGR, shell companies and other offices and residences.
As part of a 'Clean Money' operation, around 10 business houses in Tamil Nadu are being raided, including three run and operated by members of Sasikala family.
The raids started at 6 30 in the morning. At least 8 officials were seen entering the Jaya TV office this morning, according to reports. Jaya TV, started by former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa in 1999 was a mouthpiece of the AIADMK and has lately become a severe critic of the Edappadi Palanisamy government.
The operations of the media house has been controlled by the members of the Sasikala family for many years now.
"This is a clear case of political vendetta," alleges an MLA in the TTV Dhinakaran faction. "They already wanted to retreive and attach party mouthpieces – Jaya TV and Namadhu MGR. But that is not possible because it is 100% private property. Now, they will just claim that they got a tip off as a reason to not send a show cause notice ahead of the raids," he adds.
"It is very obvious that this is an attempt by the Centre to intimidate us," said advocate Kasimanabharathi,who represents various organisations belonging to the Sasikala family. "They are conducting raids at Jaya TV and Nammadhu MGR because they won't toe the line drawn by O Panneerselvam and Edappadi Palaniswami. But let me tell them that we won't be scared and can't be coerced into following the EPS and OPS," he added.
Namadhu MGR is the newsprint mouth piece of the AIADMK, and is also said to be controlled by TTV Dhinakaran.
Residences and other offices of Sasikala's nephew Vivek Jayaraman, Vivek's sister house in T Nagar and the Bengaluru residence of AIADMK Karnataka unit head Pugazhenthi are all being raided by I-T. Raids are also on at Mannargudi, the hometown of the Sasikala clan.
"We saw that there were raids against actor Vishal when he spoke out against the government. But people like Janardhana Reddy and Shekhar Reddy who have stacks and stacks of money are let go," said the lawyer, representing the groups. "Even Minister Vijaybhaskar was forced to keep quiet after the raids against him. But even if you 5000 policemen after us, we won't get scared," he added.
In August, the merged factions of EPS and OPS had passed a resolution stating that legal procedures will be initiated to retrieve and attach party mouthpieces – Jaya TV and Namadhu MGR.