The gutkha scam of Tamil Nadu has hit the headlines many times over the past few weeks. But despite ministers and top police officers being named in the scam that allowed gutkha dealers to operate in the city, the TN police have not made any high profile arrests.
Frustrated at the inaction, a man hung a banner outside the police headquarters in Chennai alleging that the Director General of Police TK Rajendran was involved in the multi-crore Gutkha scam outside his office.
The banner read, â€śGutkha Ware House
Property of TK Rajendran IPS
Dealer of Gutkha Products.â€ť
The hoarding also contained official phone numbers of the DGP. The man was detained by the Chennai police.
Mylapore DC Saravanan confirmed the incident and said that an investigation was underway.
Officials at the DGPâ€™s office said the man was detained at around 10 am shortly after he had put the banner in the railing surrounding the police headquarters. He could be arrested following the interrogation, officials at the DGPâ€™s office said.
The man identified himself as Senthil Murugan, a resident of Madurai and claimed that he was a social worker. He had reportedly tried to jump off the Police Commissionerâ€™s building in 2016.
This is not the first time that DGP Rajendranâ€™s name has been linked to the Gutkha Scam. It was earlier alleged that lakhs of rupees was paid as bribe to top cops by Gutkha manufacturers, so that they could carry on with their business despite a ban on gutkha.
Background of the scam
The multi-crore scam was unearthed by Income Tax officials in 2016, while they were raiding godowns, 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.
It was only during this raid, that a diary containing names of those who were believed to have been paid off by the gutka manufacturers was recovered. One of the names mentioned in the diary was that of the state's health minister.
The manufacture, storage and sale of the carcinogenic chewable forms of tobacco, including gutka and pan masala was banned by the state government in 2013.
Subsequent investigations and media expose revealed that a total amount in the tune of Rs 40 crore was paid to the minister and state, central officials including senior policemen of DGP and Commissioner rank to facilitate the sale of the banned article in the state.