Book criminal case against Health Minister: DMK to DVAC

The DMK on Monday lodged a complaint with the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti Corruption (DVAC), urging it to register a criminal case against Health Minister C. Vijaya Baskar and investigate him under the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA), 1988.

In a complaint to the DVAC director and the Vigilance Commissioner, DMK organising secretary R.S. Bharathi said the communication of the Income Tax Department to them and to the government of Tamil Nadu (as reported in the press / media) required no preliminary inquiry.

He claimed that the I-T Department, in its communication, had reported that ₹20 lakh in cash was seized from the Minister’s house in Illupur, Pudukottai, during searches conducted on April 7, 2017.

This included ₹12.96 lakh in brown envelopes with the names of the respective candidates written on each of them with regard to jobs in the Nutritious Meal programme. Interview call letters for the respective candidates were also seized, he alleged.

The Minister’s father, in a sworn statement, admitted that the money received was for securing jobs, the DMK leader claimed, adding that this clearly attracted the provisions of Sections 7 and 13(1) of the PCA.

The documents seized by the I-T Department also contained date-wise entries of the collections made through private / personal assistants to Mr. Vijaya Baskar. The collection receipts were for the period from July 23, 2016 to November 9, 2016.

Detailing the amounts collected, the DMK said this was prima facie enough to constitute an offence under the same sections of the PCA.

‘Lands leased’

It had also been reported to the government that lands belonging to the Minister at Thiruvengaivasal village in his native were leased to one Subbiah.

While the permitted level of quarrying of rough stone was 2,95,642 cubic metres, the I-T survey found that 25,51,868 cubic metres of rough stone and mixture of gravel and earth was excavated, the DMK leader alleged.

The I-T Department’s copy of the findings was also sent to the Mining and Geology commissioner, the Tamil Nadu Environment Assessment Authority secretary and the Pudukottai Collector.

As none of the authorities had acted on the information, Mr. R.S. Bharathi sought action against the Minister and the officials concerned under Section 13(1) (d)(ii) of the PCA, 1988.

Stating that this was the third such complaint by the DMK — the previous two being against the Chief Minister and the Deputy Chief Minister — he said it had become a practice of the DVAC not to register FIR even though enough material was given in the complaint itself.

“Non-registration of FIR despite the fact that it makes out a cognisable offence is also punishable under the Indian Penal Code,” Mr. Bharathi said.

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