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Preliminary Enquiry Against Tamil Nadu CM EPS After DMK Alleges Nepotism in Highway Projects

In its petition, the DMK said it had complained to the DVAC in June this year that multi-crore government highway contracts were given to Palaniswamy’s relatives but no probe was initiated in the case.

Poornima Murali | CNN-News18

Updated:August 24, 2018, 3:43 PM IST
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Preliminary Enquiry Against Tamil Nadu CM EPS After DMK Alleges Nepotism in Highway Projects
File photo of Tamil Nadu CM Edappadi K Palaniswamy.
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Chennai: A preliminary enquiry has been initiated against Tamil Nadu Chief Minister E Palaniswami based on a complaint by opposition DMK alleging alleging abuse of power in allotment of highway projects, the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC) told the Madras High Court on Friday.

On Thursday, the DMK had moved the Madras HC seeking a direction to the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC) to register a graft case against CM Palaniswamy based on its complaint.

In its petition, the DMK said it had complained to the DVAC in June this year that multi-crore government highway contracts were given to Palaniswamy’s relatives but no probe was initiated in the case.

The petition copy, accessed by CNN-News 18, states: “I submit that the above observations of this Hon’ble court show that when a complaint is given against a public servant the Directorate of Vigilance have to enquire into the complaint directly and no prior sanction or remarks need to be obtained by the Vigilance department. In these circumstances it is prayed that this Hon’ble Court may be pleased to direct the 1st Respondent (DVAC) to register the case and investigate the complaint dated 13.06.2018 and thus render justice”.

Petitioner RS Bharathi said “Palanisamy, being a public servant, entered into a criminal conspiracy with Chandrakanth Ramalingam, P. Subramaniam, P.Nagarrajan, J.Sekar @Sekar Reddy and the firms, M/s Ramalingam & Company, SPK an Company Expressway Private Limited, and Balaji Toll Ways (Madurai) Private Limited, abused his official Position as Chief Minister and Minister for Highways and Minor Ports and there by committed criminal misconduct”.

Bharathi added that “the Present Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu Shri Edapadi K. Palaniswami was the Highways Minister during the period from 2011 to 2016 when late Ms. J. Jayalalitha was the Chief Minister. I further submit as Highways Minister he had control over the award of Government contracts for laying of roads under the Highways Department”.

The petitioner noted that the Income Tax department had conducted raids on properties of contractors in July this year, including those belonging to Nagarajan Seyyadurai, the managing director of SPK and CO Expressway Pvt Ltd, who is allegedly linked to the chief minister.

The department had recovered over Rs 170 crore of unaccounted cash and gold bullion worth over Rs 100 crore after a 36-hour IT raid on Seyyadurai’s properties.

While the DMK had demanded the chief minister’s resignation when the raids were conducted in July, Palaniswamy had said there were no irregularities in awarding tenders to contractors.

“It is the duty of the income tax department to conduct raids on premises of companies if they don’t pay tax proportionate to their income. There are no irregularities in awarding tenders. The Opposition’s demand for my resignation is politically motivated. Earlier, they demanded my resignation over the Cauvery issue and then the Sterlite protest. It is their routine to do that,” he had said.
| Edited by: Ahona Sengupta
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