The Madras High Court on Tuesday asked the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption why the Central Bureau of Investigation should not investigate the allegations of graft levelled against Tamil Nadu Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, reported PTI. Panneerselvam is accused of amassing wealth disproportionate to his known sources of income.
The court was hearing a petition that Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam MP RS Bharathi had filed at the anti-corruption body in March. Justice G Jayachandran also asked the directorate to explain by July 23 why Panneerselvam had not yet been investigated.
Bharathi filed a complaint in the High Court on Monday, asking it to direct the anti-corruption body to register a case and investigate the matter. He said the court had already clarified that the vigilance department would not need prior sanction to look into a complaint against government officials.
In his petition, Bharathi alleged that Panneerselvam had abused his power to amass vast wealth and invested it in companies and properties either in his name or in the names of other people. He also accused the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leader’s sons Raveendranath Kumar and Jayapradeep, and daughter Kavitha Banu of having undisclosed sources of income.
The DMK leader also accused Panneerselvam of making false declarations before income tax authorities and election officials. The legislator referred to the deputy chief minister’s declaration to the Election Commission in 2014-’15 in which he claimed that he had an annual income of Rs 5.8 lakh. Panneerselvam’s basic salary while he was an MLA was Rs 6.6 lakh, Bharathi alleged, pointing out that the deputy chief minister had also bought a car worth Rs 17.8 lakh at that time.
The DMK legislator alleged that a diary seized by the Income Tax department from sand mining baron Sekar Reddy had reportedly disclosed his links with Panneerselvam, The News Minute reported. According to the diary, the AIADMK leader and his associates had reportedly received almost Rs 4 crore from Reddy between June and November 2016.