Governor should sack TN Health Minister, DGP: Stalin (Lead)

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Chennai : DMK President M.K. Stalin on Wednesday asked the Tamil Nadu Governor to sack Health and Family Welfare Minister C. Vijayabaskar and Director General of Police T.K. Rajendran if they don't quit on their own after raids by the CBI.

Stalin said in a statement that the continuation of Vijayabaskar and Rajendran would be a blot on democracy and the police administration.

"If they do not resign, then the Governor (Banwarilal Purohit) should dismiss them without any delay," he said after the Central Bureau of Investigation raided offices and homes in Tamil Nadu in connection with a gutkha scam.

Stalin said the CBI raids had brought shame to Tamil Nadu.

He alleged that the AIADMK government had tried various measures to stall investigation into the scam.

On Wednesday morning, CBI officials from New Delhi searched several places in Tamil Nadu including the houses of the Health Minister and Rajendran.

The case is related to an Income Tax Department raid on the offices, residences and godowns of a gutkha manufacturer in Tamil Nadu in 2016.

A diary seized then listed alleged bribes paid to officials amounting to Rs 39.31 crore.

The Tamil Nadu government has banned the manufacture and storage of gutkha -- a tobacco product -- since 2013. However, the product was reportedly available in the market with the alleged connivance of police officers and others.

DMK legislator J. Anbazhagan, on whose petition the Madras High Court ordered a CBI probe, also sought the resignation of Rajendran and Vijayabaskar.

"The probe seems to be proceeding on the right track under the CBI. Whether a case will be filed against the scamsters or not will have to be seen," Anbazhagan told IANS. "If no case is filed, then we may have to approach the Madras High Court again."

Several political parties had demanded a CBI probe into the issue but the AIADMK government did not agree.

In June, the Enforcement Directorate registered a money laundering case against unnamed government officials in Tamil Nadu based on a first information report (FIR) registered by the CBI in May.

Despite opposition from opposition parties, Rajendran was given a two-year extension in 2018.