When three IT officers stepped into the Poes Garden residence of Jayalalithaa on Thursday night, it had more implications with the corruption allegations against the former chief minister than the Mannargudi clan. The tax raids, in continuance of the searches at the places linked to V.K. Sasikala, also dealt a severe blow to the impeccable image of the late leader.
While Jayalalithaa, the prime accused in a disproportionate assets case, was held guilty earlier this year, the latest raids at her residence have again reiterated the fact that she was the only public servant linked to the family for allegedly amassing wealth.
“This is the house where Amma lived her life. It is like a temple for us. By allowing the IT raids to happen here, we have failed Amma. Here by saying 'we', it implies all the one and a half crore AIADMK cadres including me,” said Vivek Jayaraman, Sasikala’s nephew.
Some of the AIADMK ministers and party's Rajya Sabha MP V. Maitreyan are also of the opinion that the raids have brought disrespect to their leader. Taking to Twitter, Maitreyan said: “Whatever be the reason, a raid in Poes Garden where Amma lived gives great pain. As far as I am concerned, Amma’s home is a temple.”
Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker M. Thambidurai shared Maitreyan’s statement while adding: “Jayalalithaa’s residence is like a holy place. Anyone bringing disgrace to the temple will not be accepted. I will meet the chief minister regarding this and convey my regards.”
Hours after the Income Tax raids, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswamy and his cabinet colleagues reached the famous Meenakshi temple in Madurai to seek divine intervention. Later in the evening, after taking part in the MGR centenary celebrations at Madurai, Palaniswamy expressed his disgrace over the raids at Poes Garden and said: “This has happened due to the mistakes done by a few people. The government wants to convert Jayalalithaa’s residence to a memorial. It has hit a roadblock because of some reasons. But we will soon pursue and convert Amma’s residence into a memorial.”
The chief minister, however, lashed out at Sasikala clan, particularly her nephew and ousted deputy general secretary of the party T.T.V. Dhinakaran, citing them as the reason for all the disgrace now. Though he maintained that the state government has no say in the raids and that the IT department is an agency that comes under the direct supervision of the Centre, he was sharp and determined while throwing salvos at the family.
While most of the AIADMK leaders maintained that a “temple” was desecrated through the raids, the optics here is the other side of the story where the real deal seems to be the complete assault on the Mannargudi clan, without leaving even a single stone unturned. It may be recalled that both Vivek and and his sister Krishnapriya who came under the IT scanner and faced a number of questions, brushed aside any political motive behind the raids, while Dhinakaran maintained that it was a fall out of political vendetta. In any case, the raids and the searches at Poes Garden have not earned any sympathy for the family. Though the raids have a political colour and Dhinakaran seems to gain out of it, the anger against the Sasikala family has still not died down.
Meanwhile, RSS ideologue and Thughlak Editor S. Gurumurthy in a tweet said: “Raids in Jaya’s home. That was the tax haven for Mannargudi Mafia to keep their electronic evidence of loot. They thought no one would enter the Jaya Fort whose keys were with Sasikala. The High Court permitted the IT department to raid. Congrats to IT department.”