The CBI has raided nearly 40 places in Chennai, in connection with the multi-crore Gutkha scam, involving bribes give to top officials to skirt a ban on chewing tobacco. Tamil Nadu health minister C Vijaya Baskar and Director General of Police TK Rajendran are among those raided by CBI.
CBI officials have claimed that the searches are spread out across the state, but have not revealed the exact location as it might hamper operations. Many other senior police officials, including former Police Commissioner S George, and officials of the food safety department are being raided.
The multi-crore scam came to light in July 2017, when Income Tax officials raided the offices, godown and residences of a gutkha manufacturer in Tamil Nadu, who had been accused of tax evasion. Searches at his residence revealed a diary, containing names of officials who had reportedly been bribed by tobacco manufacturers.
Earlier in April, the Madras High Court had ordered a CBI probe into the scam. The order was in response to a petition filed by DMK's J Anbazhagan, who requested a CBI investigation into the supposed scam.
In May, the CBI had registered an FIR against unidentified persons of the Tamil Nadu government, Central Excise Department and the Food Safety Department.