Stalin calls for reforms in the EC after raids at Kanimozhi's residence
Chennai, Apr 17: The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) hit out at the Centre IT department raids at senior party leader Kanimozhi's residence two day before the polling for general elections and accused the BJP led government of using central agencies against opposition parties. DMK president MK Stalin called for reforms in the Election Commission (EC) and said the poll panel 'never took any action' on their complaints about those hoarding loads of cash.
Party workers even took to the streets of Thoothukudi and shouted slogans against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP.
Kanimozhi is the DMK's candidate from Thoothukudi and she is facing the state BJP chief Tamilisai Soundararajan in the Lok Sabha elections. Kanimozhi is the daughter of late party patriarch M Karunanidhi and Stalin's half-sister.
"People who hoarded crores of rupees had not been raided; the EC never took any action on our complaints. We have to undertake reforms in the EC in the future," said party president MK Stalin said, as per an HT report.
In a statement, Stalin said the raids were an outcome of the "fear of a damning defeat" for BJP's candidate Soundararajan.
Kanimozhi said that no cash or documents were found at the house. I-T officials confirmed that the DMK leader had cooperated with the team.
Reports quoting IT department officials said the raids were conducted on the basis of a complaint by the returning officer and district magistrate Sandeep Nanduri.
"The raids were conducted in Kurinji Nagar at Thoothukkudi. As we received information about cash movement, we launched the raids. About 10 officials from the ECand I-T department have conducted the raids," said an official in the I-T department on condition of anonymity, as per a Hindustan Times report.
The raids come as Lok Sabha elections in Vellore were cancelled following a huge cash haul, allegedly from the house of a DMK candidate. This was the first time Lok Sabha polls were cancelled in cash-for-votes allegations.
Earlier on Tuesday, authorities conducted search at a store in the Theni Lok Sabha constituency in Tamil Nadu following inputs about suspected cash, during which police had to open fire in the air to disperse supporters of the TTV Dhinakaran-led AMMK who objected to the action, officials said. The raiding team, comprising officials of the EC-appointed surveillance squad and the income tax department, seized bundles of cash allegedly meant for distribution among voters, they said. When the team arrived at the store in Andipatti in Theni district, believed to be run by a supporter of the Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK), the shopkeeper fled the spot after downing the shutter.
Soon, an argument broke out between AMMK workers and the officials which resulted in a commotion and police fired four rounds in the air, they said. No one was injured in the firing, a senior official said. Four AMMK volunteers were detained in connection with the incident. The officials said a number of neatly packed packets containing cash. "The packets have ward numbers and number of voters written on them and Rs 300 is written on each of the packets. The raid is continuing," the senior official said.
Tamil Nadu goes to polls on April 18.