The CBI has filed a supplementary charge sheet against some former Tamil Nadu ministers and former senior police officers in a case related to the illegal sale of gutka in the state, officials said Wednesday.
The agency has filed the supplementary charge sheet recently against 21 people, including ministers in the erstwhile AIADMK government B V Ramana and C Vijay Baskar, and former state police chiefs S George and T K Rajendran, after taking sanction from the state government to prosecute the accused, they said.
The charge sheet was filed before a special CBI court in Chennai.
The case pertains to the illegal sale of gutka, a concoction of tobacco and ‘pan masala’ which was banned in Tamil Nadu in 2013, by Jayam Industries.
The promoter-directors of Jayam Industries — A V Madhav Rao, Uma Shankar Gupta and Srinivas Rao — continued selling MDM brand gutka in the state even after its ban by allegedly influencing officials, politicians and regulatory authorities, the CBI had said in its FIR.
Jayam Industries was rechristened into Annamalai Industries to continue the sale, they said.
The scam came to light on July 8, 2017 when income tax sleuths raided the godown, offices and residences of the company, which had been facing charges of tax evasion to the tune of Rs 250 crore, in Tamil Nadu.
During the raids, the income tax department had seized a diary containing names of those who had been allegedly paid by the gutka manufacturers.
The case was sent to the CBI by the Madras High Court in April, 2018 on the plea of a DMK leader.
Demanding a CBI probe, the petitioner alleged that monthly payments worth over Rs 14 lakh were made to then health minister C Vijay Baskar and payments in lakhs of rupees were made to officials of central excise, food safety and sales tax department of the state, senior police officials and politicians among others.
This was challenged in the Supreme Court by a Tamil Nadu health official but the apex court sided with the Madras High Court order and asked the CBI to register a case.
The agency had registered the FIR against unidentified officials of the Tamil Nadu government, central excise department and the food safety department.