Even as DMK leaders pointed out that the search team did not have jurisdictional authority, a new team arrived and carried out a search of the DMK Treasurer’s Vellore home.

In midnight drama IT officials search DMK leader Durai Murugans home Facebook: @duraimurugan.dmk
news Elections Saturday, March 30, 2019 - 08:57

With Tamil Nadu going to polls in less than a month, high drama unfolded at midnight on Saturday even as sleuths from the Income Tax Department arrived at the home DMK leader Durai Murugan in Vellore. The officials were attempting a search of the premises when Durai Murugan and those present along with him informed the search team that they would not be allowed inside. The DMK leaders pointed out that the search team did not have jurisdictional authority in the area.

According to reports, a flying squad team of the Election Commission and officials of the IT Department arrived at the home of DMK Treasurer Durai Murugan around 10 pm on Friday evening. Since neither he nor his son and the party's Lok Sabha candidate for Vellore were present, they were made to wait. The duo, who arrived at their home two hours after the search team landed asked to examine the search warrant along with the DMK’s legal team.

According to one report in The New Indian Express, the search was to be carried out under Article 131 of the IT Act. “A three-member team was present at the house when we returned from election campaign. When we asked what they had come for, the official said they were from the Income Tax department and wanted to search the house. However, the search warrant they carried denoted cash movements (flying squad search) under the jurisdiction of Arakkonam parliamentary constituency, and it was not applicable to conducting search at the house.This attempt is politically motivated and the officials are not abiding by the laws. We are ready to cooperate with the search if it is legally carried out, ” the newspaper quoted Paranthaman, joint secretary of DMK’s legal wing, as saying.

With a new search warrant being issued for the Vellore jurisdiction, a new team arrived at the Katpadi home of the DMK leaders and conducted a search of the premises at 3 am. Two more officials reportedly joined the search team at 5: 45 am.

The Election Commission has been leading a crackdown on cash distribution across the state even as the Model Code of Conduct is in place across the country. In the run up to the Lok Sabha polls, Tamil Nadu has witnessed the highest amount of cash seizures in India.

IT raids have happened in many places in Karnataka too. Houses and establishments of politicians from the JD(S) and people close to HD Kumaraswamy were raided this week. The Chief Minister sat on a dharna condemning the move and calling it vindictive action.

 

 

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