The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Tuesday claimed it had additional “evidence” which exposes the alleged roles of DMK chief and former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi, his daughter Kanimozhi and then Tamil Nadu Intelligence chief Jafar Sait in the 2G spectrum scam.
Addressing a press conference, AAP leaders Prashant Bhushan and Yogendra Yadav said four new taped conversations have surfaced which “throw more light” on the scam in which former Telecom Minister A Raja and Kanimozhi were chargesheeted.
These include purported conversations between Sait and then Chief Minister’s Secretary Shanmugathan, and Sait and Sharad Kumar Reddy, then CEO of Kalaignar TV Pvt Ltd, dating back to 2010-11, when the CBI had intensified its heat on Raja before finally arresting him in February 2011. Karunanidhi was the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister during that period.
Bhushan admitted that the AAP could not independently verify the authenticity of the tapes, but prima facie they appeared to be genuine. They appear to be recorded by someone on a mobile phone, he claimed.
The AAP also alleged that the Tata Group was granted “favours” by the then DMK government in the state, and that the company transferred “huge property” to Kanimozhi’s aide.
In its chargesheet, the CBI had said Rs 200 crore was paid as bribe by Shahid Balwa’s Swan Telecom in lieu of the telecom licences in 2008. The money was allegedly transferred in several tranches into the account of Kalaignar TV, which is owned by the Karunanidhi family — while both Kanimozhi and Sharad Kumar Reddy have a 20 per cent stake each, Karunanidhi’s wife Dayalu Ammal has a 60 per cent stake.
Kanimozhi and Kaliagnar TV had claimed that the alleged bribe was taken as unsecured loan and was returned to Balwa’s firm in 2010. However, Bhushan claimed that the taped coversations show that the loan story was a cover-up.
“Backdated documents were prepared by Sharad (Kumar) Reddy to show this loan… This so-called return of loan was arranged by getting illicit money from other companies, which was shown as advance advertising fee to Kalaignar TV… Karunanidhi was fully in the know and involved in the cover-up,” AAP said in a press statement.
“The conversations also contain multiple references to the transfer of huge property by the Tata Group through a subsidiary Voltas Ltd. of Tata Retail and Infrastructure Ltd (TRIL) to Kanimozhi’s aide. It may be noted that this huge property transfer from the Tata Group to Kanimozhi’s aide appears to have been mentioned in the Radia tapes, in the conversation between Niira Radia and Karunanidhi’s other wife Rajathi Ammal. It’s also noteworthy that while the 2G scam was taking place, Ratan Tata wrote a handwritten, personal and confidential letter to Karunanidhi dated November 13, 2007 which was personally carried by Nira Radia to Karunanidhi in which he extols the virtues of Raja, especially in his handling of the 2G spectrum allocations,” the statement said.
Reacting to the charges, Karunanidhi told reporters in Chennai, “It is all lies, all lies, all lies”.
PTI quoted a Tata Sons spokesperson as saying that “the business transactions of Tata companies are bona fide and in line with the group’s code of conduct and commitment to ethical standards.”
“A conversation which is said to have been taken place in February-March 2011, purportedly between Sharad Kumar Reddy of Kalaignar TV Pvt Ltd and Jaffar Sait, the then Addl DGP (Intelligence), has come to the notice of CBI through media reports. The CBI is in the process of obtaining the recordings/ transcripts of the said conversation after which necessary action as per law shall be taken,” said the CBI on Tuesday.
The shop had stored over 20 drums of kerosene that fuelled the blaze and it quickly spread through the entire building.