I-T sleuths swoop down on Jaya TV, Sasikala family members

Income tax officials raided the office of Jaya TV and its associates, controlled by Tamil Nadu's Sasikala family, this morning.

Income tax officials told media the searches were part of the I-T Department's 'Operation Clean Money', and were based on information of concealment of income and evasion of tax.

The Tamil language television channel is perceived to be politically disposed in favour of deposed AIADMK leaders V K Sasikala and T T V Dhinakaran.

The allegations against Jaya TV also covers aspects like dubious investments by shell companies, fund flow and fudging of accounts, income tax officials in Chennai said.

Searches at the TV channel's accounts also cover the premises of Midas Distilleries and Jazz Cinemas, they said. The two entities are perceived to be associated with some of those linked to Jaya TV.

The residence of T T V Dhinakaran at Mannai Nagar in Mannargudi, Sasikala's brother Dhivakaran's house at Sundara Kottai and the premises of their supporters were also being searched.

The Residence of Pugazhendi, Karnataka AIADMK secretary, the residence of Dr Namadhu MGR, Kodanad Estate, the palatial hill retreat of former chief minister J Jayalalithaa, Sasikala's elder brother Sundaravadanam's residence in Gandhi Nagar in Pudukkottai, and Sasikala's husband M Natarajan's Thanjavur residence were also raided.

Heavy security was reported from outside the television channel office as the channel continues to function.

The IT Department has been selective in conducting searches, said Jaya TV spokesman Kasinathan. He added that Jaya TV is not a property of AIADMK and though started by Jayalalithaa, it is now controlled by the Sasikala family, led by her nephew Vivek Jayaraman.

The channel has been highly critical of the functioning of the AIADMK government after the unification of the factions led by chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami and former chief minister O Panneerselvam in August.