Officials from Tamil Nadu’s directorate of vigilance and anti-corruption are raiding at least 20 former Transport Minister MR Vijayabhaskar’s homes.
The raids, according to sources, are related to accusations of corruption in the transport department while the AIADMK was in control. “Raids are ongoing in 24 locations.”Search efforts are underway at 20 locations in the minister’s hometown of Karur alone,” a Tamil Nadu Police source said.
The agency has yet to issue a comment about the situation. Mr. Vijayabaskar had just lost an assembly election to Senthil Balaji of the DMK, now the Electricity Minister.
Senthil Balaji formerly worked for the AIADMK and TTV Dhinakaran’s AMMK. Since the DMK gained power in May, this is the first round of serious DVAC raids against the opposition AIADMK.
In 2018, the DMK, the state’s main opposition party, accused former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami, former Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, and ex-Minister Vijayabaskar, among other Cabinet colleagues of the former AIADMK Chief Minister, of corruption and sought action against them. The DMK had claimed wrongdoing in distributing five motorway contracts to businesses reportedly controlled by relatives of the former CM in a letter to DVAC in June of that year.
The party then filed a petition in the Madras High Court, claiming that the DVAC had a “track record” of failing to register charges against state ministers. Following this, the Madras High Court ordered a CBI investigation into the accusations, led by a Superintendent of Police officers. However, it’s unclear if the searches on Thursday were related to this case.
In 2016, Vijayabhaskar was named Minister of Transport. In the 2016 Assembly elections, MR Vijayabhaskar was defeated by Senthil Balaji of the DMK, who is also accused of a “job fraud” in the transport department while serving in the J Jayalalithaa Cabinet from 2011 – 2015.