Chennai : Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Thursday searched the residences of DMK functionary Poonjolai Srinivasan, Damodaran and M. Dayanidhi in Vellore district and questioned them in connection with the cash-for-vote scandal that cropped up during the 2019 general elections, an official said.
Srinivasan is said to be close to DMK General Secretary Duraimurugan and his son and Vellore MP D.M. Kathir Anand.
Dayanidhi was a senior manager at Canara Bank, Regional Office, Vellore, while Damodaran is the brother-in-law of Srinivasan.
According to the CBI, Dayanidhi had misused his official position to facilitate the exchange of Rs 500 and Rs 2,000 notes for new Rs 200 note bundles for Srinivasan and Damodaran for distribution to voters.
The CBI in its FIR said Dayanidhi by dishonestly performing and inducing another public servant for an undue advantage and falsification of accounts provided Srinivasan and Damodaran newly printed currency bundles of Rs 200 denomination.
In 2019, the Lok Sabha polls for Vellore seat got cancelled amid allegations of suspected use of money to influence voters.
The Election Commission had said it had recommended countermanding of the polls based on the "detection of a systematic design to influence voters" in the Vellore constituency.
The poll panel said the countermanding of polls was related to search and seizure operations carried out at the homes of Duraimurugan and his son Anand on March 29 and March 30, 2019.
On April 1, 2019 a second Income Tax search was launched based on information that illegal cash was being moved from a college owned by the Duraimurugan family to a cement warehouse in Vellore.
The Vellore district police had filed a complaint against Anand and two party functionaries on the basis of a report from the Income Tax department on April 10, 2019.
The search, conducted at the residence of Damodaran, brother-in-law of DMK functionary Srinivasan, yielded a cash seizure of Rs 11.48 crore, the poll panel said.
The cash had been packed in plastic packets with ward-wise details, it added.
Later when the polls were held, Anand emerged the winner.
Interestingly CBI officials questioned Srinivasan a couple of days after Anand had complained that two persons claiming to be from the Intelligence Bureau had barged into his room in Tamil Nadu House and threatened him.
Raising the issue in the Lok Sabha, Anand had said that the two men wanted to know the issues that would be raised by him and his party in the Lok Sabha.