Friday, Nov 28, 2014

Focus back on controversial IPS officer as new tapes surface

Sait with Karunanidhi Sait with Karunanidhi
Written by Gopu Mohan | Chennai | Posted: February 5, 2014 2:07 am

The surfacing of four audio tapes that reportedly reveal the efforts to save DMK chief M Karunanidhi and his family from the fallout of 2G spectrum scam has brought the attention back on controversial IPS officer M S Jaffar Sait.

Sait was moved to an inco-nsequential post as soon as the regime changed in 2011, and was suspended three months later over corruption charges.

Sait was serving as IG, Tir-uchy range, when he was pos-ted as the head of State police intelligence in May 2007. He headed the politically-crucial wing till the DMK government was ousted in 2011.

In those years, Sait was the all-powerful spook close to Karunanidhi’s second wife Rajathi and her daughter Kanimozhi. According to critics, he was instrumental in tapping phones of politicians, officials and media persons. The revelation of some of these tapes in 2008 kicked up a storm but a judicial inquiry set up by the then DMK government reached nowhere.

It was alleged the phone tapping by intelligence wing was “outsourced” to a private company reportedly run by the wife of a senior police official who worked under Sait.

It was reportedly on Sait’s advice that Karunanidhi and son M K Stalin changed their constituencies in the 2011 Assembly polls. This almost proved disastrous for Stalin who struggled to scrape through. Sait was also charged of misusing a government discretionary quota to obtain land in his daughter’s name.

When the DMK was defeated in May 2011, Sait was one of the first officers to face action. He was posted as the special officer in charge of the Mandapam Sri Lankan Tamil refugee camp.

The officials from the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption searched his premises and registered a case under the Prevention of Corruption Act and other sections of the IPC. He was placed under suspension on August 2. When the case came before a special court late last year, Sait moved the HC, pointing out that the Union government had not given permission to prosecute him.

The HC was later informed that the MHA had denied the permission. Though he managed to earn a brief reprieve, he is on suspension and has not been reinstated by home department.

Many in political circles consider Sait a pliant official who became a willing political tool for his masters. Ironically, it is a leaked tape that has brought trouble for the official who was once considered to be the master of phone tapping himself.

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