Officers of the Income Tax (Investigation Wing) commenced State-wide search operations on Tuesday, including on the premises of actor Vijayakant and president, Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK), and Jeppiar, who runs several educational institutions.

According to official sources, the search operations were carried out on 14 premises in Chennai, Coimbatore, Puducherry, Cuddalore and Madurai. Besides, survey actions under Section 133A of the IT Act are being carried out on 17 premises. A total of 400 personnel, including 55 officers, were deployed for the search operations, which began around 8 a.m. Nearly 100 police personnel are assisting the search operations, which are still on.The Central Investigating agency is probing the investment in a hospital construction by Mr. Vijayakant in Puducherry at an estimated cost of Rs. 45 crore. Mr. Vijayakant has informed the IT department that Rs. 35 crore was being raised through a bank loan. The officers are seeking an explanation for the remaining Rs. 10 crore. The department is also looking into the DMDK’s recent spending.

The IT officers have identified jewellery worth about Rs. 2 crore during search operations on Mr. Jeppiar’s premises.

Taking serious cognisance of the violence unleashed by Mr. Vijayakant’s fans, who damaged a Tata Sumo vehicle parked outside his premises in Chennai, the department has lodged a formal complaint with the police.

About 2,000 volunteers of the DMDK were secured in various parts of the State on Tuesday after they attempted to stage picketing to protest against the searches. The picketing bid was in Chennai, Villupuram, Salem, Coimbatore, Madurai, Theni, Ramanathapuram and Tirunelveli districts, according to reports.