According to Income Tax raids recently conducted, huge bribes were paid to Tamil Nadu Health Minister to allow illegal sale of gutka.
The Income Tax raid on illegal gutka manufacturers in Tamil Nadu has revealed that huge bribes amounting to Rs 50 lakh were paid to Health Minister Dr C Vijay Bhaskar, senior police officials in Chennai and senior bureaucrats to allow illegal sale of banned gutka in the state.
The State had reluctantly banned the sale of cancer producing gutka after the Union Government had imposed such a ban a few years ago.
According to IT documents obtained by Times Now, bribes of Rs 15 lakh was given on various occasions to Dr Bhaskar and K Rajendran, DGP of Tamil Nadu and other senior police officials.
Senior bureaucrats were also paid huge bribes to facilitate the illegal sale of gutka and thus allow the spread of cancer. Gutka is known to cause cancer and it the poor and the marginalised who consume the banned substance.
Reacting to the story, former Union Health Minister Anbumoni Ramdas said this was just the tip of the iceberg and that Tamil Nadu is known for its huge scams in the health sector.
He called for the immediate dismissal of Dr Vijay Bhaskar.
The Opposition DMK wanted a CBI enquiry into the revelation.
In his reaction, Dr Bhaskar rubbished the Times Now report and said he had come out of various allegations unscathed earlier and in this case too he will prove his innocence.
It was on July 7, 2016 that the Income Tax Department conducted a raid on the gutka godowns and factories in Red Hills, Chennai.
This followed a report by the then Commissioner of Police S. George to the Home Secretary stating that he had received information that the illegal activities relating to the sale/manufacture/transport/distribution of maava/gutka were being carried out in Chennai with the “active connivance” of certain police officers of various ranks who had served or are serving in Chennai Police. “There are also allegations that there is connivance at senior levels,” he said.
Soon after, the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC) had launched a probe into allegations that huge sums of money were paid as bribe to senior police officers in Chennai by manufacturers, sellers and transporters of the banned maava/gutka.
But nothing much happened after that.
The illegal factories were operating from 2011 till the date of the raid, he said. During that period, four Police Commissioners, six Additional Commissioners, five Joint Commissioners, six Deputy Commissioners, three Assistant Commissioners and six Inspectors served in the Chennai North, district, range and police station limits.
If the report is true, a CBI probe is the order of the day. And if indeed bribes were paid, the Centre should recover every penny from Dr Bhaskar, senior police officials and bureaucrats. And they must be jailed for causing death and suffering.