The Income Tax Department seized Rs 1.48 crore in cash allegedly stashed to bribe voters in Tamil Nadu’s Theni district during an overnight raid that concluded on Wednesday morning. Bye-polls to the Andipatti Assembly seat and the Theni Lok Sabha seat are scheduled on Thursday.
The cash was packed in 94 packets and envelops on which the ward number, number of voters and the amount of Rs 300 per voter was written, said I-T Director General (investigations) B Murali Kumar said. “All these wards are within the Andipatti Assembly segment which is going to bye-polls tomorrow,” he told PTI.
Kumar said the store from where the cash was seized belonged to a functionary of TTV Dhinakaran-led Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam. The AMMK party office functions from the ground floor of the premises, he said.
The department will send a report to the Central Board of Direct Taxes and the Election Commission in New Delhi.
Income tax officials along with Election Commission’s flying squad members launched a search at the store on Tuesday night. During the raids, the police had to open fire in the air to disperse AMMK supporters. No one was injured in the firing.
A postal ballot paper for Andipatti Assembly bye-election, which was already marked for an AMMK candidate, was also found on the premises.
The district police have filed an FIR against several people. Four AMMK supporters have been detained, reported the Hindustan Times.
On Tuesday, the Election Commission countermanded election to the Vellore parliamentary constituency after a huge cash haul.
In 2017, the Election Commission had countermanded elections to the RK Nagar Assembly seat in Tamil Nadu twice due to large-scale malpractice by candidates and political parties, following which Dhinakaran had won the seat.