The Income Tax Department Thursday submitted to the Madras High Court some documents in a sealed cover along with its counter to a PIL seeking a CBI probe into alleged bribery of voters during a byelection to the RK Nagar Assembly constituency in 2017.
Counsel for the department requested the bench of justices M Sathyanarayanan and P Rajamanickam to keep the documents and reports as secret materials.
The bench received the documents and directed the court registry to keep them in safe custody and adjourned the matter to January 18 for further hearing.
Petitioners, including DMK candidate Maruthu Ganesh in the April byelection, which was cancelled following complaints of malpractices including bribing of voters, have moved the court seeking a CBI probe into the allegations.
Earlier, counsel for Ganesh objected to the I-T Department's request not to reveal the contents of the documents.
He said once the department decided to share its confidential documents and secret reports to the Election Commission, which had cancelled the bypolls relying on them, it cannot now raise the secrecy plea.
There should be absolute transparency in the court proceedings in a case of involving public interest and questioning wastage of public money, the counsel said.
The matter relates to searches and seizure of documents by the Income Tax Department in various places on April 7, 2017 allegedly related to bribing of voters, which led to the cancellation of the polls then.
On a direction by the Election Commission, the returning officer of the constituency had lodged a police complaint on April 27, based on which the FIR was registered.
During an earlier hearing, the court found fault with police for not mentioning the names of the accused in the FIR though names of three people were referred in the complaint by the returning officer.
The bypoll to the seat, necessitated by the death of sitting member and then chief minister J Jayalalithaa, was originally scheduled for April 12, 2017, but was later held in December last year.