New Delhi: Nearly 16 more imported luxury vehicles have been seized in CBI raids as part of its probe into the alleged racket run by a Hyderabad-based businessman involving violation of customs law, a case which came into limelight after searches at DMK leader MK Stalin’s residence.
CBI sources said a team of agency had also visited residence of Stalin’s brother M K Alagiri yesterday looking for another imported vehicle which was allegedly purchased from Alex C Joseph, the mastermind.
However, the SUV registered in the name of son of DMK leader MK Stalin remained untraceable, they said.
The sources said CBI has recovered crucial property documents, locker details and other such material during searches at Joseph’s home who is said to be on the run. They said agency is likely to issue a look out notice against Joseph who is accused in the case along with DRI officer Muruganandan.
Muruganandan allegedly knew of illegal imports made by Joseph but did not take action, the agency claimed.
Claiming it to be a major car import scam, CBI sources said they had recovered 17 vehicles yesterday through searches at 18 places which included a visit to Stalin’s home in Chennai “to locate” the SUV Hummer which was allegedly imported in 2007.
The agency has so far recovered 33 cars but it believes that number of cars will increase, the sources claimed.
The agency has asked the present owners of the cars to keep these with them with an undertaking that they would produce before court whenever required.
Yesterday’s operation of locating these imported vehicles turned embarrassing for the agency after one of its team visited the residence of Stalin to look out of Hummer, just couple of days after DMK pulled out from ruling UPA.
The action sparked a political storm. While Stalin alleged political vendetta, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Finance Minister P Chidambaram had expressed their displeasure over the action. Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley
had said the Prime Minister or the Finance Minister “cannot interfere” in the functioning of CBI and have a “search stopped”.
Following the heat generated in the political circles, agency Chief Ranjit Sinha had to order an internal inquiry to look for any possible procedural lapses which might have occurred while planning.
In a statement, the CBI had said a case had been registered under various sections of IPC including criminal conspiracy, forgery, cheating and abuse of official position against Joseph and Muruganandan besides unknown officials.