Three years after it began investigations, the Enforcement Directorate Friday charged former telecom minister A Raja, DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi’s wife Dayalu Ammal and daughter Kanimozhi with money laundering in connection with the 2G spectrum scam.
Kanimozhi, a Rajya Sabha member who was jailed in connection with the alleged Rs 200 crore kickback received by DMK’s Kalaignar TV from one of the key accused in the 2G scam — Swan Telecom promoted by DB Realty — and her mother were directors at Kalaignar TV, with Dayalu Ammal owning a 60 per cent share.
In its chargesheet filed in May 2011, the CBI had accused DB Realty’s promoter Shahid Balwa, Kanimozhi, Bollywood producer Karim Morani and two DB group companies of routing Rs 200 crore as quid pro quo for getting spectrum licence in 2008. The ED had then begun probing the flow of funds involved in the transaction.
“The chargesheet has been filed under section 3 and 4 of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act,” said ED prosecutor Navin Matta.
The special CBI court set April 30 for taking cognizance of the case.
PMLA attracts a jail term of a maximum of seven years besides attachment of proceeds of crime by the ED. The entire amount of Rs 223.55 crore in this case was attached by the ED in 2012.
The ED has charged two more persons and eight more companies besides the accused named by the CBI. These include Dayalu Ammal and Kalaignar TV director P Amirtham, who is also Karunanidhi’s nephew. The two had been made prosecution witnesses by the CBI in its spectrum scam case. During their cross examination, they had resiled from their statement in court.
The chargesheet alleges that the promoters of Swan Telecom paid Rs 200 crore to Kalaignar TV in the garb of a legitimate loan. “Whereas, in fact, this payment was illegal gratification for and on behalf of Shri A Raja and his associates in lieu of illegal favours given to STPL for grant of UAS Licence,” it has said.
The ED has also alleged that the amount was later returned to DB group firm Dynamix to give it a “colour of regular business transactions with the intent to conceal its true nature”. The ED has rejected the stance of Kalaignar TV and the other accused that the amount was given as a corporate unsecured loan and was returned with interest, hence it was purely a commercial transaction.
“Investigation has further revealed that the return of Rs 200 crore has been done along with the additional amount in order to show this illegal payment in the guise of legal and bona fide financial transactions. Thus in the garb of loan it was in fact the illegal gratification, which was apparently projected as untainted property,” the ED has said.
“Besides, the reverse flow of such amount further establishes the projection of proceeds of crime as untainted and is nothing but the process of laundering of money. It will not be out of place to mention here that the entire amount, as stated earlier to the tune of Rs 223.55 crore, was in fact proceeds of crime,” it has said.
The ED investigation was monitored by the Supreme Court, which had also directed the finance ministry not to remove the investigating officer after allegations were leveled by one of the petitioners, Prashant Bhushan, that there were attempts to remove investigating officer Rajeshwar Singh to scuttle the probe.