The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has sought Tamil Nadu government’s approval to prosecute two former ministers, as many retired Directors General of Police, and eight others in the multi-crore Gutkha scam that had rocked the state during the AIADMK regime.
According to sources in Tamil Nadu home department, the CBI’s anti-corruption unit has written a letter to get sanction for proceeding against two former ministers — C. Vijayabaskar the former state health minister, and B.V. Ramana, the former tax minister in the AIADMK government. It has also sought permission for action against two former DGPs — T.K. Rajendran and S. Geroge — who had worked as the Commissioner of Police, Chennai during the previous government.
Notably, sanction is necessary to prosecute former ministers and former senior IPS officers.
The incident related to the current case occurred in 2017 when bribes to the tune of Rs 39.91 crore were given to several politicians including ministers, bureaucrats, and former police officers for supporting and facilitating the storage and transport of Gutkha, which is a banned product, in Chennai.
The Income Tax department had unearthed the scam while it conducted a raid on the premises of a major Gutkha manufacturer in the country. The gutkha manufacturer, according to the CBI had in the records seized by the Income Tax department marked the bribes they had paid to politicians including ministers and police officers. The IT department, according to sources had sent the report to the government of Tamil Nadu but no action was taken against the perpetrators of the crime.
The CBI had taken over the investigation in 2018 and had charge-sheeted six of the accused including three officials. The second charge sheet, according to sources will be filed after the sanction is obtained for prosecution against the other accused, including former ministers and top police officers.