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Kalaignar: Channel Raja built

delhi Updated: Feb 05, 2011 00:18 IST
Shekhar Iyer
Shekhar Iyer
Hindustan Times
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Kalaignar TV, whose accounts are under investigation by the CBI in connection with the 2G spectrum scam money trail, was born in September 2007, after a bitter strife involving the DMK’s first family.

It all started with Dinakaran, the newspaper run by Maran brothers — industrialist Kalanidhi and Union minister Dayanidhi — publishing what chief minister Karunanidhi called was a ‘mischievous’ survey in May 2007. The survey said MK Stalin and Dayanidhi Maran were rated high (in that order) as among the readers’ choice for becoming the chief minister after the DMK patriarch. Union minister MK Alagiri, Karunaidhi’s elder son, finished a poor third.

Alagiri and Stalin, and their father thought that the Marans were triggering a fight between the brothers over the succession issue by coming out with such a survey. It was then the family of Karunanidhi decided they must have their own media group to outmatch Maran’s Sun TV. Infuriated Alalgiri’s men even attacked the offices of Dinakaran in Madurai, killing three employees.

In June 2007, following this episode, Dayanidhi Maran was forced to quit as telecom minister and A Raja took over. Karunanidhi decided to act against Dayanidhi after he told Tamil Nadu home secretary that he would go to the President if the ‘real culprits’ responsible for the attack on his newspaper were not held.

After taking charge, Raja went about his task of building Kalaignar TV, organising official clearance for a quick launch.

Karunanidhi inaugurated the channel named after him on September 15, 2007, the birthday of DMK founder CN Annadurai. Raja used to boast that it was he who used his “good offices” to put Kalaignar TV on air in quick time.

Subsequently, as Raja rose in importance because of his proximity to Karunanidhi’s daughter, Kanimozhi, and her mother, Rajathi Ammal, the Marans patched up with Alagiri and Stalin because of their common antipathy towards Karunanidhi’s second wife.

On Thursday, reports said the CBI was scrutinising the transfer of over R200 crore by the DB company to Kalaignar TV in FY2009-10.