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Income Tax officials face attack during searches on the premises of Senthilbalaji’s brother

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DMK cadres gheroing an Income Tax official before the house of V. Ashok, brother of Minister V. Senthilbalaji, at Ramakrishnapuram in Karur on Friday.

DMK cadres gheroing an Income Tax official before the house of V. Ashok, brother of Minister V. Senthilbalaji, at Ramakrishnapuram in Karur on Friday.
| Photo Credit: Special arrangement

Income Tax officials faced a hostile reaction from the alleged supporters of Tamil Nadu Minister for Electricity, Excise and Prohibition V. Senthilabalaji on Friday when they landed on the premises of his brother V. Ashok Kumar and other acquaintances in Karur district to conduct searches. Some of the officials were allegedly manhandled and their vehicles were vandalised.

Four senior I-T officials, including Inspector of Income Tax Gayathiri, were admitted to the Government Medical College Hospital in Karur. They reportedly suffered minor injuries in the attack. A Deputy Director and an Assistant Director of Income Tax filed separate complaints with the Karur police.

According to sources, about 50 officials, led by a Deputy Director of Income Tax (Investigation), reached their assigned locations in different parts of Karur city around 5.30 a.m. Armed with search warrants, they entered the premises of DMK men and government contractors, who were closely associated with Mr. Senthilbalaji, and began searches. The house of Mr. Ashok Kumar at Ramakrishnapuram was among the premises where searches were carried out.

A high drama occurred in front of the house of Mr. Ashok Kumar, where a large number of DMK workers and Mr. Senthilbalaji’s supporters thronged when the search was under way in the morning. They strongly opposed the searches and raised slogans against the Central government. They entered into heated arguments with the officials who were part of the searches in the house of Mr. Ashok Kumar. Insisting that Ms. Gayathri produce her identity card, the supporters gheraoed her when she tried to enter his house. They did not allow her to enter the house even after she revealed her identity and confronted her. They allegedly confined her for more than 30 minutes. In the melee, a few persons were alleged to have manhandled her. The angry protesters also stoned a vehicle, damaging its windscreen and mirrors.

On information, the police rushed to the spot and held negotiations with the protesters. The DMK men dispersed at the insistence of Mr. Senthilbalaji, who was in Chennai.

Sources said the officials faced a similar situation at at least five other places. The angry protesters refused to allow them into the houses and the offices, forcing them to withdraw. However, it is said that the officials resumed the searches at five places, excluding the house of Mr. Ashok Kumar, in the afternoon.

A senior official told The Hindu that an inquiry was under way into the complaints lodged by the I-T officials. Suitable action would be taken based on the outcome of the inquiry. The police had no information about the searches till the I-T officials began the secret operation. However, police personnel were posted at nine places shortly after the receipt of inputs about the searches.

The searches came days after the AIADMK and the BJP presented separate petitions to Governor R.N. Ravi, alleging large-scale irregularities in the functioning of Tasmac outlets and the private bars attached to them in the State.

Meanwhile, asked about the attack by DMK workers on the I-T officials, Director-General of Police C. Sylendra Babu said in Coimbatore that the Superintendent of Police, Karur, had given an explanation on the matter. 

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