At last, the CBI knocked on the doors of the DMK on Friday.
A CBI team entered the offices of Kalaignar TV housed in the party headquarters in central Chennai on Friday and questioned patriarch M Karunanidhi’s wife, Dayalu Ammal, and daughter, Kanimozhi, for about three hours.
Dayalu Ammal owns 60% in Kalaignar TV while Kanimozhi holds 20%. The other 20% belongs to Sharad Kumar, managing director of the company.
Investigators believe that Kalaignar TV received R214 crore from Cineyug Films — an associate company of Shahid Usman Balwa-promoted DB Realty — as part of a kickback for favouring Balwa’s Swan Telecom at throwaway prices.
It was an embarrassing situation for Karunanidhi to have the CBI sleuths interrogating his family members while his party was in the midst of seat-sharing negotiations with the Congress in the same building and in the presence of partymen lobbying for assembly seats.
Sources said it might get more uncomfortable for the patriarch, as the CBI was now also looking into the ownership of a R380-crore stake held by Genex Exim Ventures Privat Limited — controlled by people close to the DMK — in Etisalat DB, the later avatar of Swan Telecom.
Genex Exim MD Ahmad Salauddin is the son of Ahmad Syed Salauddin, who has been a close Karunanidhi associate for more than 30 years.
Investigators are probing how Genex Exim joined the Swan board and whether the holders of Genex Exim's stake are acting as fronts for some DMK leaders.
The CBI team entered the Kalaignar TV offices minutes after Kanimozhi reached the premises at 10.20am. She was asked about her phone conversations with Niira Radia on the DMK's representation in the second UPA government. Soon after, Dayalu Ammal also joined the officials and the two were quizzed on the funds transferred by Balwa's Cenyug to Kalaignar TV.
Kanimozhi later told the media outside her residence: "Unlike other politicians who do not cooperate with the CBI, we are." She said, "The CBI already questioned Sharad Kumar and they wanted us to substantiate some facts and clarify. We have done that."