The sixteenth legislative assembly election of Tamil Nadu is scheduled to be held on April 6, 2021. Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Madurai on April 2. On the same day, DMK chief MK Stalin’s son-in-law Sabareesan was raided by Income Tax officials. NDTV reported that the search started around 8 am at four places in Chennai owned by Sabareesan and his associates.

In the backdrop of this, several social media users have shared four images and claimed that ₹700 crores in cash, 260 kg of gold and unaccounted documents worth ₹3,000 crores were seized in the raid. This claim is particularly viral on WhatsApp.

It has also been shared without the images.

Several Tamil users have shared this claim as well. Facebook user Suresh Bala shared the claim and posted a clip from a regional channel. His post was shared over 5,000 times.

(Tamil text: #ஸ்டாலின்_மகள் வீட்டில் இதுவரை ₹700 கோடி ரொக்கம் மற்றும் 260 கிலோ தங்க கட்டிகள், ₹30000 கோடி மதிப்புள்ள வரி ஏய்ப்பு ஆவணங்கள் கைப்பற்றப்பட்டதாக தகவல்)

The claim is in fact widespread in Tamil.

Old images shared with false claim

Multiple media outlets including NDTV and Tamil Nadu-based Sun TV reported that the Income Tax Department found ₹1.36 lakh in the raid which was returned after family members produced documents accounting for the money they said was for household purposes.

Journalist Shabir Ahmed tweeted also tweeted the copy of documents that states the amount of the cash seized from Sabareesan. The document also carries Sabareesan signature acknowledging that the entire amount was returned.

Social media claims have exaggerated the amount recovered during the raid. Furthermore, upon performing a reverse image search, we found that the viral images have been lifted from old reports.

Image 1

This image is from 2019. As per ANI, Telangana’s Khammam police seized 320 bundles of ₹2000 denomination fake notes (around ₹6.4 crores).

Images 2 and 3

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These images are from March 2019. ANI tweet both the images and stated that tax officials seized a huge amount of money stuffed in cartons and gunny bags from a cement godown in Vellore.

Images 3 and 4

These images are from 2018. ANI had reported that gold biscuits weighing around 100 kg and ₹163 crores in cash were seized by the Income Tax department from 20 locations of SPK company.

Image 5

This image was published by The Economic Times in 2017. As per the report, the Income Tax department had received confirmations for over ₹300 crore declarations from across the country during the black money window called the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojna (PMGKY) brought by the government post demonetisation.

A set of old images was shared with the false claim that ₹700 crores in cash, 260 kg of gold and unaccounted documents worth ₹3,000 crores were seized during the recent IT raid in DMK chief MK Stalin’s son-in-law’s properties. The IT department had found cash to the tune of ₹1.36 lakh which was returned after the family produced documents accounting for the money.

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About the Author

Archit is a fact-checking journalist at Alt News since November 2019. Previously, he has worked as a producer at a TV news channel and as a reporter at a leading English-language daily. In addition to work experience in media, he has also worked as a fundraising and communication manager at an NGO.