ED starts probes into gutkha scam

Chennai: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) today commenced inquiries with senior police officials in the gutkha scam money laundering case at its office in Thousand Lights here.

ED had earlier issued summons to former DGP T K Rajendran and IG Dhinakaran. As many as 20 police officials and food safety officials will face inquiry, it is said.

Retired DGP of Tamilnadu S George, Deputy Commissioners of Police Vimala and Jayakumar, and Assistant Commissioner of Police Mannar Mannan were issued the summons.

It may be noted that the accused in the case A V Madhava Rao, P V Srinivasa Rao, Tallam Uma Shankar Gupta and others were involved in the alleged illegal manufacture, sale and distribution of gutkha products in Tamilnadu. The business had a turnover of Rs 639.40 crore from June 2013 to June 2016, reports said.

Senior officials are alleged to have taken bribes to allow the manufacture and sale of gutkha.

The ED attached properties worth Rs 246 crore spread across various locations in Tamilnadu, Puducherry and Andhra Pradesh while the movable assets include vehicles and shares.

The scam came to light in 2016 when Income tax officials conducted searches on the properties of a pan masala and gutkha manufacturer for evading taxes to the tune of Rs 250 crore.

NT Bureau