The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has seized 16 more illegally imported cars but it is yet to find the Hummer which had led CBI sleuths to raid Dravida Munnettra Kazhagam (DMK) supremo M Karunanidhi's son M K Stalin’s Chennai residence on yesterday morning. The raid had raised eyebrows since it came a day after the DMK pulled out of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government at the Centre.
The CBI had said “there was no intention whatsoever to target any particular individual”.
Of the 16 cars seized on Friday, 11 belong to India Cements.
The investigating agency had set out to recover 33 luxury cars imported by one Alex C Joseph in Tamil Nadu illegally between 2007 and 2011. It expects to catch hold of many more such vehicles now. CBI will continue to search for the Hummer, bought in the name of Udayanidhi, Stalin’s son, in 2007.
However, even if CBI locates the vehicle, it would not automatically make Stalin an accused in the case. In fact, CBI has not initiated any action against the owners of the seized vehicles. Instead, it has asked them to be available whenever required, to help in the proceedings of the case.
CBI on Friday conducted searches at the residence of Joseph, who is on the run and is likely to be arrested. CBI recovered documents related to the imported vehicles and property at Delhi from Joseph’s Chennai residence. CBI is in the process of scrutinising the documents. It could not find any such evidence from the searches conducted at the premises of a senior official of the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, Muruganandan.
The first information report by CBI named Muruganandan and Joseph, accusing them of criminal conspiracy, cheating and forgery, which caused a loss of Rs 48 crore to the exchequer. Yesterday, CBI had seized 17 luxury cars after a series of searches across 18 locations in Chennai.
CBI said Joseph would violate import provision to procure luxury cars and then sell these to private parties. Joseph was arrested 10 years ago for a similar offence. CBI alleged Muruganandan did not take any action even after identification of vehicles at the premises of certain users.
The investigating agency has also registered a case against Muruganandan for allegedly abusing his official position to give and take pecuniary benefits.