The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Thursday arrested five persons in connection with multi-crore gutkha scam. The persons arrested on Thursday are AV Madhava Rao and Uma Shankar Gupta, Srinivasa Rao who are promoters of MDM gutkha company. The CBI also arrested food safety and drug administration official P Senthil Murugan, superintendent of central excise department NK Pandian earlier today. A CBI court in Chennai sent all accused to the judicial custody till September 20.

The development comes a day after the premier investigative agency conducted raids at 40 locations across Tamil Nadu, including the houses of former Chennai city police commissioner S George and former minister Ramana.

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Tamil Nadu health minister C Vijaya Baskar termed the CBI raids at his residence in connection with the guthka scam as politically motivated. The scam was unearthed in 2017 when the income tax department conducted raids at the godown, offices and residences of a pan masala and gutkha manufacturer in Tamil Nadu.

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In April this year, the Madras High Court ordered a CBI probe into the multi-crore Gutkha scam. Interestingly, manufacture, storage and sale of the chewable forms of tobacco, including gutkha and pan masala were banned by the state government in 2013.