Income Tax sleuths raided close to 187 properties of jailed former general secretary of AIADMK Sasikala and her family, including Jaya TV and Namadhu MGR offices at Ekkatthuthangal around 6 am on Thursday morning. But the way they started the raid is the most intriguing of all.

The income tax department decided to adopt a ploy, faking a marriage entourage, to ensure that Thursday's operation remained a top secret.

The department hired more than 300 cars from a city operator and stuck hilarious stickers on them that every cricket fan will relate to- `Srini weds Mahi' – probably a play on N Srinivasan and Chennai Super Kings captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, on all the cars.

“Thursday's searches were of a massive scale and it was not possible to source department vehicles for all officials in Chennai. We then thought of hiring taxis in large numbers and Thursday being an auspicious day for marriages, we stuck stickers to camouflage our arrival at various destinations,” a senior I-T official told TOI.

The taxi drivers were not allowed to use their mobile phones until they dropped the officials at their respective destinations. “This again was to prevent leak of information about our searches. Some of the drivers of these taxis are also owners and they must be well connected. We told the taxi company that the drivers will not be allowed to use their phones,” said the official.

Tamil Nadu police provided security to IT department officials while the raid was going on.

IT sleuths raided the houses of Sasikala aide Ilavarasi’s son Vivek Jayaraman’s house at No. 13 Ramanadhan Street, Mahalingapuram, daughter Krishnapriya’s house and also Sasikala’s nephew TTV Dhinakaran’s home.

The IT department has termed the raid as ‘Operation Clean Black Money’ and is looking into the affairs of ten groups of companies belonging to Sasikala and her family.