Opposition not convinced by DMK clean chit to Rajnikanth

March 20th, 2008 - 12:08 am ICT by admin  

Chennai, March 19 (IANS) The Tamil Nadu government in a suo motu communiqué Wednesday exonerated superstar Rajnikanth of any wrongdoing in a land deal, but sections of the press and opposition remained unconvinced.

“Rajnikanth purchased 8.93 acres of land for a consideration of Rs.2.1 million paying a stamp duty of Rs.168,000 and a cess of Rs.21,000 on Jan 4, 2007. The deed was attested by K. Vasanta Kumar, the block sub-registrar. An examination of the records reveals that there is no loss to the government in the form of revenue due, as Rajnikanth has paid Rs.96,036 in excess of the necessary stamp duty. Therefore, there is no impropriety in the deal as alleged in (a Tamil magazine) Kumudam Reporter,” Minister for Tourism and Registration N. Suresh Rajan said in a signed statement.

This statement has come after an enquiry by senior officials from the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Tuesday, police sources said.

The magazine had charged Rajnikanth with undervaluing the cost of the land purchased in Kannigaipper village in Tiruvallur district, 20 km northwest of Chennai, to the tune of over Rs.8.5 million.

“Vasanta Kumar had come under alleged adverse notice in another real estate deal linked to the close confidante of Leader of Opposition and former chief minister J. Jayalalithaa a few years ago,” the periodical had alleged.

The charge was ignored by the government.

“Makkal TV”, a television channel owned by Dr Ramadoss’s PMK and a bitter critic of film stars, had commented that the movie icon was following the footsteps of his one-time sworn enemy - Jayalalithaa vis-à-vis real estate deals.

PMK sources pointed to an aside in the periodical’s report that indicated another Tamil matinee idol, Vikram, purchased 2.88 acres some 60 km away in Kanchipuram district for over Rs.2.6 million in May 2007.

“If land measuring a quarter of what Rajnikanth purchased could cost over 20 percent of what the star paid only four months later, 60 km away from Chennai, there is something fishy in the clean chit given to the superstar,” a PMK legislator said.

Another film star-turned-politician, Vijay Kant, is also embroiled in a controversy over real estate holdings, but is at the wrong of the stick.

While the state government has threatened to take action against him and confiscate the land whose market price exceeds millions of rupees, the star has said he was equal to the challenge.

A portion of Vijay Kant’s political headquarters here was demolished last year to widen a highway after a lengthy litigation.

Rajnikanth played a do-gooder in his last movie “Shivaji-The Boss” cleaning up the nation’s black economy. The movie grossed over Rs.500 million at the box office.

Currently, the icon has been signed to play the lead in “Kuchelar” (a mythical pauper) to be made by ace director K. Balachander. The movie’s budget is slated to cross Rs.1 billion.

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