Jayalalitha and Karunanidhi, kingpins of corruption
Posted on March 20th, 2013

Geoff WIJESINGHE

Chief Minister Jayalatliha and Karnanidhi, the octogenarian who carries out his mafia style operations from a wheel chair are according to media reports the most corrupt individuals in Tamil Nadu. They resort to rabble rousing and stone throwing at Lankan pilgrims in order to divert attention of the voters of their incompetence and monumental corruption.

UNHRC sessions

Jayalaitha once an attractive film star who sent fans’ hearts aflutter and who had the patronage of a powerful Chief Minister became Chief Minister although she was a novice politician, she has managed to survive. Today, at 65 years of age, she is fat and matronly.

Corruption charges

The corruption charges against Karnanidhi are so many that he is often referred in the Indian media as the king of corruption. He was accused of supporting the LTTE and was indicted which fact was included in the interim report of the investigation into Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination.

The Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu has a staggering 46 corruption cases against her. Amongst the various scams were the Rs.70 million coal import scam, Tansi land deal case, case of disproportionate assets and colour TV case, amongst many others. A raid in her residence and business establishments led to the seizure of some 28 kg of jewellery (worth Rs 51 crore), 91 wrist-watches, 41 air-conditioners, 10,500 sarees, 750 pairs of shoes, etc. She along with her former cabinet colleagues and senior bureaucrats who worked with her are still facing investigation with regard to corruption.

New Delhi: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa and her confidante, Sasikala Natarajan, will continue to face criminal proceedings for alleged corruption, the Supreme Court said today.Ms Jayalalithaa has appeared in a court in Bangalore twice last year to answer several hundred questions put to her, along with Ms Sasikala.

It was Ms Sasikala who had asked the Supreme Court to suspend the trial because she has not been given documents that she requested from the trial court, according to her lawyers. The Supreme Court refused to intervene.

Sasikala has also filed an application challenging the jurisdiction of the Bengaluru court to conduct the trial.The petition says the judge B. M. Mallikarjuniah was not appointed by a notification as required under Section 3 of the Prevention of Corruption Act. Only Special Judges are competent to try such corruption cases. The present judge, the petitioner claims, was appointed by a routine administrative order.

Ms Jayalalitha has been accused of misusing her earlier term in office from 1991 to 1996 to benefit herself and friends like Ms Sasikala.

The Chief Minister asked Ms Sasikala to move out of her home, and expelled her from her party, the AIADMK, for allegedly interfering with postings of bureaucrats. However, the women reconciled recently. Rival party DMK has alleged that the estrangement was a ruse to distance the Chief Minister from the corruption case, and an attempt to make Ms Sasikala the scapegoat.

Karunanidhi has amassed wealth beyond wildest imagination for a man who “ƒ”¹…”landed in Chennai with a Steel trunk’. His Family Tree shall make Royal Court of Arms wince. His method of creating benamis (beneficiaries) is to be seen to be believed – wife, companions, sons, daughters, grandsons, granddaughters, nephews, nieces, sister, sisters’ son-in-laws, son-in-law, son in law’s parents, his next in command in the party, party men, bureaucrats, drivers, peons and cooks.

He has a Trust in his parent’s name which he controls indirectly. His kin have been acquiring educational institutions and real estate on a large-scale.

He owns industries indirectly. To know more please read my blog filed under “ƒ”¹…”Corruption’ How has he become such a power in Tamil Nadu?

He has a TV Network – Kalaignar TV, from which he withdrew in public but his wife holds shares.

His grand sons control the film industry having production and distribution Houses-Red Giant Movies, Cloud Nine movies-his nephew production House Sun Movies. Sun TV Network is controlled by his sister’s son at the top and Bangalore Operations are controlled by his son in law.

Land and property

This week, continuing its campaign against out-of-turn allotments of land and property, TEHELKA has an exposĮՠթ on Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi. The Tamil Nadu Housing Board (TNHB) which commands a large land bank, has a government discretionary quota (GDQ) under which 15 percent of all allotments can be recommended by the CM.

Eligibility for allotment under GDQ is as follows: single/deserted women; widows; social workers; physically handicapped persons; defence personnel; ex-servicemen; eminent persons in the field of science, arts, literature, economics, public administration and sports; freedom fighters; government servants with unblemished service records; employees of PSUs, central government undertakings and nationalised banks; PF institutions; journalists; university staff; and employees of local bodies and municipalities.

Jayalalitha
M. Karunanidhi

While some of these categories sound kosher, most of them raise a fundamental question: why should the government have the power to give coveted land to select employees and journalists over others? The only rationale could be proximity “”‚ which is an untenable reason for being the beneficiary of political favours, often worth several crores.

Perhaps the starkest example of a family member whose phenomenal growth started completely outside democratic space is Azhagiri, Karunanidhi’s second son, now the Union Chemicals and Fertilisers Minister.

The 62-year-old contested his first election only in 2009, from the Madurai constituency. What looked like a political debut, however, was only a legitimisation of his iron grip over the southern districts for more than 30 years. In the recently leaked phone taps that exposed the 2G spectrum scam, TN Information Technology Minister Poongothai Aladi Aruna, speaking to telecom lobbyist Niira Radia, referred to Azahagiri as “a cut-throat politician”.

It all started with a banishment. In the early 1980s, Karunanidhi had sent Azhagiri, then a bank employee, to Madurai, which was his wife Kanthi’s home town.

He was to run the Madurai edition of the DMK mouthpiece Murasoli, but was given no say in editorial decisions. He soon lost interest and directed his energies to other profitable ventures. Visibly, Azhagiri now runs a TV channel, a cable service provider (Royal Video), a wedding hall and a huge showroom of silk textiles. But covertly, he also controls the muscle power and moneybags that run the city “”‚ the contractors, brokers and land mafia. “Do you know how many stories I’ve written about people who’ve been threatened, harassed or killed after going to the police or court to challenge Azhagiri and his associates?” asks Idaya, a Madurai based Tamil journalist. “After a point, I realised that there is no point in criticising the king in his own court.”

Kangaroo courts

As Azhagiri unleashed his kangaroo courts, extortion rackets and henchmen on Madurai, election after election, the city’s largely working class population kept voting CPM candidates to the Lok Sabha, and the AIADMK to the legislature. “Azhagiri used to say that Madurai was being run by the wrong parties,” says TKS Elangovan, senior DMK leader and Rajya Sabha MP. In 1996, when the DMK swept the state, Azhagiri didn’t waste any time. “He used this opportunity to strengthen the DMK cadre in the south,” says Elangovan. When asked to elaborate on Azhagiri’s modus operandi, Elangovan grins broadly. “Hard work and charisma,” he says.

A long list of Election Commission notices to the Madurai wing of the DMK is less circumspect. It has found Azhagiri’s men guilty of dropping sealed envelopes with Rs. 500 notes in voters’ letter boxes (four notes for four voters) and his cable operators offering six months free usage to subscribers. Cartons of saris were found stored in the house of Azhagiri’s right-hand man, to be distributed at a rally.

Weekly biriyani feasts were being held in slums, and women were being given cash coupons or pamphlets that could be exchanged for Rs. 100 at DMK offices. Before every election, goons were making door-to-door visits with sickles hanging down their backs. If anyone dared to protest, their land was confiscated and their vehicles destroyed. While his men lashed through Madurai, Azhagiri himself cultivated the manner of a benevolent regional don with the dangerous unpredictability of a Sonny Corleone. Several Madurai-based bureaucrats, all of whom requested anonymity, admitted to having received death threats directly from Azhagiri in his pre-ministerial days. “If I didn’t give the tenders to the men he wanted me to, he would smile softly, look at his henchmen, and leave the room,” says a senior PWD employee. “It was the scariest thing in the world.”

After signing a deal to acquire 37.73 percent stake in budget carrier SpiceJet, Sun TV Network promoter Kalanithi Maran on Monday made the mandatory open offer to buy another 20 percent from the public at Rs 57.76 per share. The offer has been made by Kal Airways, promoted by Maran and his wife Kareri, based on the two-week average daily high and low price of SpiceJet equity shares on the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), where it is listed, the managers to the issue said.

Some interesting facts also emerged from the open offer made on Monday:

* Kalanidhi Maran’s net worth was Rs 13,384 crore ($2.97 billion) as on June 10

* The new promoters propose to change the name of SpiceJet after acquisition and shift its registered office away from Gurgaon

* They have, however, undertaken not to sell any substantial asset of the airline

* SpiceJet was previously called Genius Leasing, M.G. Express, Modiluft and Royal Airways

* The airline has now been given permission overseas to Bangladesh, the Maldives and Nepal.

Commenting on the deal, Jagannadham Thunuguntla, equities head at leading brokerage SMC Capitals, said SpiceJet was among few airlines in India and globally which was running profitably.

“In the future if the government relaxes foreign investment norms for airlines, then SpiceJet can become a target for acquisition for a foreign carrier, netting the promoters a handsome premium,” Thunuguntla told IANS.

He said apart from the profits, which amounted to Rs 61.44 crore in the year ended March 31, the carrier can also fly abroad. In this regard, the Sun Network brand can capitalise on the large south Indian diaspora in East Asia.

Maran’s SUN TV Network boasts 20 channels that reach 95 million households in India. It also beams to 27 overseas destinations with large South Indian diaspora including the US, Canada, Europe, Singapore, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.

This apart, in its quest to be called a complete media and entertainment company, it runs 45 FM radio stations, two daily newspapers with a circulation of 1.2 million, four magazines and a direct-to-home satellite TV service with 5.5 million subscribers. Its cinema arm makes at least eight movies every year, several of them with one of the biggest budgets for Indian films.

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