Sleuths of the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC) conducted searches at 26 locations including the residence of ‘Salem’ Elangovan, the chairman of the Tamil Nadu State Apex Cooperative Bank, who is a close aide of former Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Friday, October 22. The DVAC also registered a disproportionate assets case against R Elangovan (57) and his son E Praveen Kumar (27).
According to reports, 17 locations in Salem, two locations in Namakkal and Chennai districts each and four locations in Trichy districts and a few locations outside Tamil Nadu are being searched by DVAC officials from the wee hours of Friday. The First Information Report (FIR) registered against Elangovan and his son mentioned that the searches were being conducted to ascertain wealth accumulated from the period of April 1, 2014 till March 31, 2020.
Elangovan was elected as the chairman of the Tamil Nadu State Apex Cooperative Bank and president of Salem District Central Cooperative Bank twice in 2013 and in 2018. Praveen is a vice-chairman of Swamy Ayyappan Educational Trust in Salem district. “During the check period (April, 2014 to March, 2020) by virtue of his official position and his close association with top politicians, Elangovan enriched himself illicitly and was in a possession of pecuniary resources and assets disproportionate to the known sources of income,” the FIR stated.
The FIR, detailing the alleged disproportionate assets, stated that the likely savings of Elangovan and his family should have not exceeded Rs 1,52,65,540 during the period. However, the family had acquired assets worth Rs 3,78,31,755, which worked out to be 131% of their total income.
Subsequently, the DVAC suspected that both Elangovan and his son had allegedly acquired more assets and kept them in the name of benamies in different locations within and outside Tamil Nadu. Further, there is information that they have allegedly invested large amounts from ill-gotten money on colleges and institutions run by Swamy Ayyappan Educational Trust in Trichy district, the FIR claimed.
A case was registered under relevant sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, and the Indian Penal Code (IPC). Meanwhile, the DVAC continued its series of searches from October 18 at locations related to former AIADMK Health Minister C Vijayabaskar on Friday morning. Three locations in Chennai and one in Salem were searched by officials. Vijayabaskar is the fourth former AIADMK Minister to face a case of disproportionate assets. AIADMK top leaders O Panneerselvam and K Palaniswami have condemned the move, dubbing it a political vendetta by the DMK.