The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has seized properties worth Rs 246 crore in three states during its investigation of a scam in which manufacturers allegedly bribed government authorities to sell gutkha, which was banned in Tamil Nadu in 2013.
As many as 174 immoveable properties in Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Andhra Pradesh worth Rs 243.80 crore were seized under laws on money laundering. The moveable properties in the form of shares and vehicles are worth Rs 2.29 crore.
The ED alleged the accused in the illegal manufacture, sale and distribution of gutkha products of Tamil Nadu had earned a turnover of Rs 639.40 crore from June 2013 to June 2016. The money they earned was invested in properties in the three states.
The accused allegedly paid bribes to the Central and state government Officials for allowing their business. There were allegations that the kickbacks even reached the Tamil Nadu health minister C Vijaya Baskar, who has refuted the allegations.