Gutkha scam: Ex-Minister appears before CBI

B V Ramanaa

Chennai: Even as Health Minister C Vijaya Baskar was set to appear before the CBI in connection with the alleged gutkha scam, former Minister B V Ramanaa deposed before the agency today.

The questioning is being carried out at the Nungambakkam CBI office by a team which reached Chennai last night. Sources said three other people have also been asked to appear before the agency.

The Tamilnadu government had banned gutkha in 2013, and it is being alleged that bribes were paid to bureaucrats, Ministers and politicians to allow its manufacturing and sale.

The scam came to light on 8 July, 2017 when Income Tax sleuths raided the godown, offices and residences of a Tamilnadu-based pan masala and gutkha manufacturer who had been facing charges of tax evasion to the tune of Rs 250 crore.

The promoter-directors of Jayam Industries, A V Madhav Rao, Uma Shankar Gupta and Srinivas Rao allegedly sold MDM brand gutka by influencing officials, politicians and regulatory authorities, it is said.

NT Bureau