Wednesday, April 27, 2011

2G charge sheet: DMK likely to lie low

P C Vinoj Kumar  | 2011-04-26 17:24:44

With the CBI including Chief Minister M Karunanidhi's daughter Kanimozhi in its supplementary charge sheet in the 2G spectrum case, the focus has shifted to the political fallout of this much anticipated development.

All kinds of speculations are doing the rounds. Will the DMK withdraw support to the UPA Government or at least withdraw from the ministry and volunteer to give outside support to it?

Before we examine the possibilities, let's look at the sequence of events that culminated with the CBI charge-sheeting Kanimozhi in the 2G case.

Media reports have been hinting at Kanimozhi's inclusion in the case even before the CBI filed the first charge sheet on April 2. But apparently the CBI withheld naming her along with former union telecom minister A Raja and eight other accused in the first charge sheet as a concession to the Congress - DMK alliance, which was facing an important election to the Tamil Nadu Assembly on April 13.

It was felt that naming Kanimozhi then would have tilted the scales against the alliance and given the AIADMK-led Opposition undue advantage. The CBI told the Supreme Court, which is closely monitoring the case, that it would file a supplementary charge sheet soon.

The supplementary charge sheet indicting Kanimozhi does not contain any fresh charge against her apart from the issue of transfer of Rs.200 crores from the Shahid Balwa owned D B Realty to Kalaignar TV between December 2008 and August 2009. According to the CBI, the money came into Kalaignar TV through ''a circuitous route'' from D B Realty.

The CBI had questioned the top brass of Kalaignar TV in connection with the money transfer early March. Those questioned were: Kanimozhi, who holds 20 percent stakes in the channel, Karunanidhi's second wife Dayalu Ammal who holds 60 percent stakes and the channel's Managing Director Sharad Kumar, who holds another 20 percent stakes.

The CBI's case is that the money may be part of the kick-back for the favour shown to Balwa's Swan Telecom, said to be one of the biggest beneficiaries of the 2G scam.

The central investigating agency is seeking to establish the ''strong association'' between Raja and Kanimozhi and is relying, among other things, on the latter's interest in getting Raja the telecom ministry, as revealed by the Niira Radia tapes, to prove its point.

While Kanimozhi and Sharad have been named in the charge sheet, Dayalu has been cited only as a witness. The reason given by the CBI is her old age, deteriorating health and her lack of knowledge of any language other than Tamil.

The non-inclusion of Dayalu's name in the charge sheet has triggered charges of CBI's bias to the DMK first family. This may snowball into a political controversy in the days to come. AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa has already demanded that all members of the Karunanidhi family should be named in the charge sheet.

Coming back to the question of possible DMK response to the developments, which is likely to be discussed at the party's high level committee meeting in Chennai on Wednesday, it appears that the overall mood in the party is to lie low, and adopt a wait-and-watch approach.

Many feel that withdrawing from the central ministry is not going to serve any purpose. When the DMK used the threat during the seat-sharing talks with the Congress, it fell flat after the Congress was assured of support from Mulayam Singh Yadav's Samajwadi Party which has 22 MPs - against the DMK's 18 MPs.

Also, the argument against this move is that the party leadership would be seen in poor light as the public perception would be that Karunanidhi withdrew from the ministry due to personal reasons; because his daughter had been charge-sheeted in the 2G scam case.

As a senior leader put it, ''It is better to be part of the central government when you are not sure about the outcome of the Assembly polls.''The DMK has two cabinet rank ministers and four ministers of state. The idea is to retain power at the Centre by all means, even if the State slips out of their hands when results to the April 13 assembly polls are announced on May 13.

Some, though, are in favour of withdrawing from the ministry and extending outside support to the UPA government. The reasoning behind this strategy is that it would pre-empt the Congress from demanding share in power if the DMK-Congress alliance secures a majority in the Assembly. 

But the most likely outcome of tomorrow's meeting is that the party leadership may take the high level committee into confidence on the recent developments and then arrive at a unanimous decision to let the law take its own course. The party may well stick to its stand that being named in the charge sheet does not make a person guilty, until the charges are proved in court.


No comments:

Post a Comment