The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has conducted raids at the residence of State Health and Family Welfare Minister C Vijayabaskar and the office of the Director General Police (DGP), T K Rajendran, among others in connection with the gutkha scam.
Raids have been carried out at some 30 locations in various parts of Tamil Nadu since Wednesday morning, according to officials.
Meanwhile, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) legislator J Anbazhagan wants Rajendran to step down. It was on Anbazhagan’s petition that the Madras High Court ordered a CBI probe into the alleged scam.
Manufacturing, storing and sale of gutkha has been banned in the state since 2013, and it has been alleged that these products continue to sold illegally across the state. There are allegations that higher officials, including the minister, were bribed so that sales could continue.
The political party, Pattali Makkal Katchi, has sought the minister's resignation in the wake of fresh raids.
The Madras High Court had earlier directed the CBI to probe the scam in which the names of several top political and police leaders were allegedly mentioned.
The allegations became public after a raid was conducted by the Income-Tax Department on some gutkha manufacturing units over suspected tax evasion of around Rs 2.5 billion.
During the investigation, authorities seized a diary, which reportedly contained details of bribes (around Rs 393 million) paid to various officials.
A First Information Report (FIR) was registered by the CBI in May 2018 on the issue. Based on the FIR , the Enforcement Directorate had filed cases against unnamed government officials under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).