CBI quizzes Kanimozhi, Dayalu Ammal on 2G spectrum scam (Lead)

March 11th, 2011 - 1:40 pm ICT by IANS  

Chennai, March 11 (IANS) Key members of Tamil Nadu’s first family, Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi’s daughter Kanimozhi and his second wife Dayalu Ammal, were Friday questioned by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in connection with the 2G spectrum allotment probe.

Amrathan, a senior official of Kalaignar TV who is close to the family, will also be questioned, officials said. The interrogation is going on in the Kalaignar TV office at the headquarters of the ruling DMK here. The three arrived at the office around 10.30 a.m.

They are being questioned in connection with the Rs.200 crore received by Kalaignar TV Pvt Ltd from Cineyug Films connected to Shahid Usman Balwa of Swan Telecom, now under custody.

Karunanidhi’s family members allegedly have a majority stake in the regional TV channel.

While Kanimozhi is said to have 20 percent stake in the TV channel, Dayalu Amma has 60 percent stake. The balance 20 percent is with Kalaignar TV managing director Sharad Kumar, it is learnt.

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

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, sources said.

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

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

CBI officials here were quiet, saying that a team from New Delhi was doing the job of questioning.

The CBI’s move to question Kanimozhi, a DMK MP, and the others could not have come at a more politically incovenient time. The DMK is in the process of interviewing aspiring candidates for the April 13 assembly poll.

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

India’s ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) has just finalised its seat sharing agreement for the polls. The DMK had initially refused to set aside 63 assembly seats for the Congress in the state but was forced to relent.

Kanimozhi’s questioning may also give ammunition to DMK’s arch-rival Jayalalitha’s AIADMK to target Tamil Nadu’s first family in the campaign.

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