Taxmen raid TN Health Minister C Vijaya Baskar, others

In a surprise move early today, the Income Tax department conducted searches at premises belonging to health minister C Vijaya Basker and three others, including politicians and officials. Reports said the action is still ongoing.

Around 34 locations are under the taxmen's lens across the state. This includes 23 places in Chennai and 11 other in Tamil Nadu.

The minister's residence on Greenways Road and at his native place Pudukkottai, and a sand quarry were among the locations that have come under the taxmen's lens.

At Pudukkottai, two teams of I-T officials, accompanied by Central Reserve Police Force personnel, have been conducting searches at the minister's residence and stone quarry.

Sources said a team of about 50 I-T personnel landed at Rasi Blue Metals quarry at Thiruvenkaivasal near Pudukkottai, surprising all including staff and the public.

Simultaneously, another team landed at Vijaya Baker's house at Sourashtra Street in Iluppur.

The I-T sleuths are also searching the residence of Dr S Geethalakshmi, the vice-chancellor of Tamil Nadu's Dr MGR Medical University. Incidentally, she had received the Dr B C Roy award, the most prestigious award for a medical professional in the country, from the President only a few days ago.

Similar raids are on at the residences of AISMK leader, actor Sarathkumar and AIADMK man 'Chitlapakkam' Rajendran, The New Indian Express reported.

This is the second round of high-profile raids in Tamil Nadu after the then chief secretary Rama Mohana Rao came under scrutiny for alleged links with sand mining mafia.

Interestingly, this came just a day after the state police acted against some real estate firms rumoured to be close to the rebel faction of the ruling AIADMK led by former chief minister O Panneerselvam.

The I-T raids against the ruling faction just a day after has triggered rumours about a bigger game in play.