CBI grills Kanimozhi, Karunanidhi’s 2nd wife

By : |March 11, 2011 0

CHENNAI, INDIA: DMK MP and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi’s daughter Kanimozhi was Friday being questioned by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in connection with the allotment of 2G spectrum licences.

Karunanidhi’s second wife Dayalu Ammal and senior official in Kalaignar TV Amrathan, who is close to the family, was also questioned, officials said.

A four-member CBI team from New Delhi quizzed the two at Kalaignar TV office located on the top floor of the DMK headquarters here.

Informed sources say the CBI team started its questioning of Kanimozhi and Dayalu Ammal around 11 a.m. and ended its session around 2 p.m.

The CBI officials and Kanimozhi rushed out of the venue without speaking to the media.

Karunandhi’s family members are believed to have majority state in Kalaignar TV Pvt Ltd, which received Rs.200 crore from Cineyug Films, connected to Swan Telecom’s Shahid Usman Balwa, who is under arrest in connection with the spectrum scam.

Kanimozhi and Dayalu Ammal came to Kalaignar TV office around 10.30 a.m. and soon after that the CBI team arrived.

P. Amrathan, a director of Kalaignar TV who is close to the family, also came to the office. CBI officials here were quiet, saying a team from New Delhi was doing the job of questioning.

Karunanidhi’s family members reportedly have a majority stake in the regional TV channel. While Kanimozhi is said to have 20 percent stake in the TV channel, Dayalu Ammal has 60 percent stake.

The balance 20 percent is with Kalaignar TV managing director Sharad Kumar, the sources say.

Balwa is one of the accused in the scam. His Swan Telecom was allegedly favoured by former communications minister and DMK MP A. Raja in the allocation of second generation (2G) spectrum licences to telecom firms.

The CBI is probing if there was any quid pro quo under which Balwa transferred funds to the TV channel and in return got 2G spectrum licences at throwaway prices, the sources said.

Balwa and Raja are among the four people in jail in connection with the corruption scandal that is said to have caused the exchequer massive losses.

The CBI is visiting the television channel office for the second time in a month. On Feb 18, it raided the Kalaignar TV office early in the morning and questioned senior officials including Sharad Kumar.

On Feb 16, Kalaignar TV welcomed investigative agencies to verify its books and documents.

"The CBI or Income Tax Department (IT) can inspect our books and documents any time they want. We do not have any objection," Sharad Kumar said in a statement.

Two days later, CBI officials from New Delhi knocked at the channel’s doors at around midnight and completed the questioning of officials before dawn.

Kumar said Kalaignar TV had no connection with the 2G spectrum allocation made in 2007-08 and the loan transaction with Cineyug Films Pvt Ltd in 2009.

"Despite the clarification, the CBI has mentioned about the loan transaction in the court," he said.

According to Kumar, Cineyug gave some money as advance towards the acquisition of stakes in Kalaignar TV in 2009.

Kanimozhi had earlier told IANS that she is not even a director in Kalaignar TV and the day to day operations of the channel are carried out by Kumar.

CBI’s questioning of Kanimozhi and Dayalu comes at a time when the DMK is in the process of interviewing aspiring candidates for the April 13 assembly polls.

DMK is also involved in discussions with its allies – Congress, PMK and others – in finalising the constituencies from which each one of them would fight the elections.

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