Income Tax personnel who searched a house in Thoothukudi, where Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam’s Lok Sabha candidate Kanimozhi has been staying since the start of her poll campaign, drew a blank on Tuesday night, reported NDTV. Unidentified tax officials said it was a “false tip”.

Kanimozhi said the raids were conducted to intimidate her. “The Election Commission and Income Tax department have become part of the Modi alliance… They are trying to terrorise opposition parties,” she alleged. Polling will be held in the constituency on April 18.

Unidentified officials from the tax department told News18 that the operation at Kanimozhi’s house was a “routine search”. A tax official said that a verification process is being carried out, and that the department has not yet executed a warrant in the case.

However, NDTV reported that the team said they wanted to verify allegations that “lots of cash was stashed on the first floor of the house”.

DMK President MK Stalin, who is Kanimozhi’s brother, lashed out at the Income Tax Department. He alleged that a lot of cash has been stashed at Tamil Nadu Bharatiya Janata Party chief Tamilisai Soundararajan’s home, but that despite a complaint by the DMK, no action has been taken in the matter.

Stalin also claimed that the searches at Kanimozhi’s place were a witch hunt by the government. “The Election Commission is playing a sick joke on the people of Tamil Nadu,” DMK spokesperson A Saravanan told NDTV.

The poll panel had earlier on Tuesday cancelled elections in Vellore Parliamentary constituency in Tamil Nadu amid allegations of use of money to influence voters.

Tamil Nadu has had a history of distributing cash to voters and announcing freebies ahead of elections in order to gain an edge in polling. Vellore is reportedly the first Lok Sabha seat in the country where elections have been countermanded.

The DMK and the Congress have established an alliance for Lok Sabha elections in the state, while the BJP and the ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam have tied up for the polls.