In December 2016, former chief secretary of Tamil Nadu P Ramamohana Rao issued a veiled threat when he said that if Jayalalithaa was alive would anyone have had the guts to enter the house of a chief secretary. Rao, whose house was raided by the Income Tax officials stopped short of saying that the raids could have been staged-managed by someone from within the ruling party.
The message from Rao was clear: that he would take all down if he was going down himself. These statements must be read in the context of the ongoing investigations by the Enforcement Directorate against Parasmal Lodha who had helped sand mining baron Sekhara Reddy from Tamil Nadu launder money.
There are a couple of questions that the ED has been posing to the accused in the case. Did Reddy known that his clout and money power fund the last assembly and 2014 parliamentary elections?
Election funding under scanner:
The ED probe is focussed around the links between Lodha, Reddy and a few politicians from Tamil Nadu. When Lodha was arrested in December from Mumbai, the ED had found that he had helped Reddy convert a huge chunk of cash in demonetised notes.
Lodha, who hails from West Bengal was a frequent visitor to Tamil Nadu. He is said to have been close to Reddy and investigators suspect that is this link that had led up to the politicians. Today investigators are studying this very closely and many from the ruling party in TN are under the scanner.
There is a lot of talk within the bureaucracy about Reddy's role during the previous elections. Reddy, who has monopoly over the sand mining contracts is alleged to be in control of several influential persons in the AIADMK. The ease with which he bagged these contracts is another topic of discussion among the TN bureaucracy, who wonders who the trail would lead up to.
The ED would be questioning Lodha and Reddy together soon to find out about this trail.
In this context it would also be pertinent to point out to the IT rainds conducted in April 2016 at the residence of Karur-based businessman Anbuthan. The raids gave the deparment plenty of information through the seized documents. The laptop, cellphone and other documents that were seized during the raid revealed several big names which included politicians from Tamil Nadu. After the arrest of Lodha, it was found that he too had alleged links with Anbuthan.