Chennai: The Income Tax Department raided the offices of Jaya TV and several close aides of sidelined AIADMK leader V Sasikala on Thursday morning as part of its 'Operation Clean Money'.
Income Tax officers raided 187 locations across four states on Thursday, targeting 10 groups running shell firms, 3 of which belong to Sasikala's family. The searches have also reached the premises of Midas Distilleries and Jazz Cinemas, I-T officers said. The two entities are perceived to be associated with some of those linked to Jaya TV.
According to sources, the sleuths also reached the residences of AIADMK leader TTV Dinakaran and M Natarajan.
Dinakaran addressed the media soon after and said that the income tax raids are nothing but political vendetta.
The Tamil channel is controlled by AIADMK and arrested party leader VK Sasikala, while it was founded by late Chief Minister Jayalalithaa.
Surana, Sunil, Puducherry Sree Lakshmi, Wind Subramanian are among the other groups that are being raided for shell firms and suspicious fund deposits.
According to sources, the I-T raids started around 6.30 am on Thursday morning. The allegation covers aspects like shell companies, dubious investments, fund flow and fudging of accounts, income tax sources here told PTI.
The latest development is likely to have a significant impact on Tamil Nadu politics, with the ruling AIADMK faction already embroiled in a bitter battle with rebel Dinakaran and his supporters, who control the television channel and its properties.
This comes days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Chennai, met both AIADMK leader and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Palaniswami and DMK supremo Karunanidhi.
The I-T raids could now prove to be a major setback for the Sasikala-Dhinakaran camp.
(With inputs from PTI)