The Madras High Court questioned the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC) as to why no action was taken against the complaint of disproportionate assets raised against Deputy Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, O Panneerselvam and his family members.
The HC was referring to the complaint filed by DMK MP RS Bharathi with the DVAC in March regarding the assets owned by O Panneerselvam and his family.
In his petition, the DMK MP alleged that O Paneerselvam has ‘acquired huge assets and wealth, either in his name or his family members’ name or in the names of benamis, after his ascent to political power as MLA, Minister, Chief Minister and now, Deputy Chief Minister.’
The petition also mentions the Sekar Reddy diary controversy.
“A direct link connecting Thiru O Panneerselvam with illegal gratification for official favours was furnished by the diary maintained by Thiru J Sekar Reddy, partner of the SRS Mining Company. … According to the entries made in the diary, Thiru O Panneerselvam and his associates received almost four crores in just six months (June - November 2016),” said the petition.
The petition also accused the Deputy CM’s sons Raveendranath Kumar, Jayapradeep and daughter Kavitha Banu of having undisclosed sources of income.
A bench consisting of Judge G Jayachandran said that since DVAC has made no progress in the case, why cannot the CBI take over and investigate the case. The counsel for the government said that they were awaiting DVAC’s explanation on the matter and hence requested the court to give more time to submit its response.
To this, the court said that DVAC has not taken any action on the complaint for three months and hence it does not make sense to allow more time. The court also gave the Tamil Nadu government time till Monday to file a response on the action taken by DVAC on the complaint, after which, it will decide on the further course of action.
Income Tax raids on industrialist Sekar Reddy’s properties, in December 2016, opened a can of worms, which suggested rampant corruption in Tamil Nadu politics. A diary with the names of bureaucrats and political leaders, who were on Sekar Reddy’s payroll, was submitted to Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary Girija Vaidyanathan for further action.