Former Chennai Police Commissioner S George on Friday denied receiving money from a gutka manufacturer in the city, IANS reported. His statement came a day after the Central Bureau of Investigation arrested five people after searching 35 locations, including George’s residence, in connection with a gutka scam.

In July 2016, raids were conducted at the godown, offices and residences of gutka manufacturer AV Madhav Rao in Chennai on charges of evading Rs 250 crore in taxes. Officials reportedly found a diary with the names of those believed to have been paid off to facilitate the sale of banned tobacco products in the city.

George claimed that the scam was “blown up” to stop him and TK Rajendran from becoming the city police chief. Rajendran is currently the state police chief.

Asked about an entry in Rao’s diary listing the payment of “Rs 15 lakh for Christmas to a former commissioner of police”, George claimed someone might have collected the money using his name. “Entries might have been made in the diary based on someone’s statement,” the former police official pointed out. “Why should an ex-commissioner be paid any money?”

George said he was not the commissioner of police when the alleged payments were made, ANI reported. But he added: “I am not casting aspersions on other commissioners who succeeded me.”

On Wednesday, the CBI also raided the residences of state Health Minister C Vijayabaskar, TK Rajendran, and former state minister BV Ramana. The following day, the agency arrested AV Madhav Rao, Uma Shankar Gupta and PV Srinivasa Rao – the promoters of Jayam Industries –food safety official P Senthil Kumar and Central Excise Superintendent NK Pandian.