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Gutka Scam: Tamil Nadu Health Minister Vijayabhaskar Cries Political Vendetta After CBI Raids

The gutka scam came to light on July 8, 2017, when income tax sleuths raided the godown, offices and residences of a pan masala and gutka manufacturer in Tamil Nadu, who had been facing charges of tax evasion to the tune of Rs 250 crore.

Poornima Murali | CNN-News18

Updated:September 5, 2018, 9:11 PM IST
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Gutka Scam: Tamil Nadu Health Minister Vijayabhaskar Cries Political Vendetta After CBI Raids
File photo of Tamil Nadu Health Minister C Vijayabaskar.
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Chennai: Hours after CBI raided over 35 premises across Tamil Nadu on Wednesday, including those of state police chief TK Rajendran and Health Minister C Vijayabhaskar, in connection with the multi-crore Gutka scam, the minister said this is ‘political vendetta’.

After the 11-hour raid, Vijayabhaskar said in a statement, “If there is an allegation against me, it does not mean I am an accused. I will face this legally. These raids are politically motivated. Without proper evidence, political opponents are charging against me. It won’t make any sense. I have never met Mr Madhav Rao (tobacco businessman). I am fully cooperating with the CBI officials. I have nothing to fear as I haven’t done anything wrong.”

Vijayabaskar is the first state minister in the present government to come under the I-T and CBI scanner, with both the raids being carried out in the post-Jayalalithaa era.

CBI has however said that investigation will continue.

The gutka scam came to light on July 8, 2017, when income tax sleuths raided the godown, offices and residences of a pan masala and gutka manufacturer in Tamil Nadu, who had been facing charges of tax evasion to the tune of Rs 250 crore.

The manufacture, storage and sale of chewable tobacco, including gutka and pan masala, were banned by the Tamil Nadu government in 2013.

During the raids, the department had seized a diary containing names of those who had been allegedly paid by the gutka manufacturers.

The case was transferred to the CBI by Madras High Court in April based on the plea of a DMK leader.

The agency had registered an FIR against unidentified officials of the Tamil Nadu government, Central Excise Department and the Food Safety Department in May.
| Edited by: Sanchari Chatterjee
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