DMK working president M.K. Stalin on Wednesday said that the “silence” of Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami over the income-tax raids on the houses and offices of his in-laws and business partners could be construed as “an acknowledgement of irregularities”.

“He should step down to ensure that there is a free and fair inquiry,” Mr. Stalin told reporters at the Chennai airport.

Referring to media reports that the raids had unearthed Rs. 180 crore in cash and 100 kg gold, Mr. Stalin alleged that Mr. Palaniswami, who also held the Public Works Department portfolio, never bothered to call for tenders when it came to allotting project work to his relatives and associates.

Demanding a probe by the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti Corruption (DVAC) into the alleged irregularities, he noted that the outcome of the income-tax raids on the houses of former Chief Secretary P. Rama Mohana Rao, Health Minister C. Vijaya Baskar and industrialist Sekar Reddy was yet to be known. “The cases pertaining to the income-tax raids should be handed over to the DVAC before they are diluted,” Mr. Stalin said, while rejecting Fisheries Minister D. Jayakumar’s claim that government contractors faced similar raids even during the DMK’s regime. “Just ask about the involvement of the in-laws of the Chief Minister. Let Mr. Jayakumar explain that,” he said.

When his attention was drawn to the appeal filed by the Central Bureau of Secondary Education (CBSE) in the Supreme Court against a Madras High Court order directing the apex school education body to award 196 grace marks to students who had written the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test in Tamil to compensate for erroneously translated questions, Mr. Stalin said the High Court order was a result of a petition filed by CPI(M) MP T.K. Rangarajan.

“The AIADMK government did nothing. It should wake up at least now and appoint lawyers to argue the case instead of remaining indifferent to the issue,” he said.

The cases pertaining to the income-tax raids should be handed over to the DVAC before they are diluted

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