The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Tuesday claimed more evidence has emerged in the 2G spectrum scam, which points to involvement of DMK chief M Karunanidhi and his daughter Kanimozhi.
AAP leader Prashant Bhushan told reporters at a press conference that his party was in possession of four tapes which suggest Karunanidhi’s family was shielded by a “huge cover-up operation”.
Bhushan said “though unverified” the tapes “appeared genuine”.
“The conversations between Kanimozhi, M Shanmuganathan (Karunanidhi’ s secretary), Jaffer Sait (an IPS officer close to the family) and Sharad Kumar Reddy (MD Kalaignar TV) show Karunanidhi was aware of the dealings which included preparing forged documents to protect his daughter,” Bhushan said.
DMK, however, rubbished the allegations. "It is all lies, all lies, all lies," Karunanidhi told reporters outside his Gopalapuram residence in Chennai.
PTI reported that the veteran politician said: "You are all reporters. Why don't you ask (chief minister) Jayalalithaa about her disproportionate assets case? You don't ask her questions. But you only ask me."
The CBI in its April 2011 chargesheet in the scam had said that Kanimozhi was allegedly the direct beneficiary of Rs 200 crore that DB Reality had transferred to Kalaignar TV between December 2008 and August 2009.
The money, according to the chargesheet, was the alleged bribe paid to Kanimozhi in return for the 2G licenses given to DB Realty by then telecom minister A Raja. The CBI had arrested both Raja and Kanimozhi in 2011 and at present they are out on bail.
The conversations, whose details Bhushan produced before media today, pertained to the period between November 2010 and February 2011.
According to Bhushan, these indicate that the documents, which tried to portray the kickback received by Kanimozhi was an unsecured loan from DB Realty to Kalaignar TV, were forged.
“Kalaignar’s MD Sharad Kumar Reddy prepared back-dated cheques to show the money as loan,” Bhushan said.
Bhushan further alleged that the “conversations also contained a reference to multiple transactions of properties by the Tata Group through a subsidiary to an aide of Kanimozhi.”
Demanding a fresh probe into the property deal and various alleged "favours" granted by then DMK government to the Tata Group, Bhushan said he will place the tapes before the Supreme Court, which is monitoring the probe into the 2G scam.
Reacting to the allegations a Tata spokesperson told PTI, “Allegations made against Tata companies have been repeatedly looked into and investigated by the authorities concerned.”
“These have found that the conduct of Tata entities have been above board. We reiterate the business transactions of Tata companies are bona fide and in line with the Group's Code of Conduct and commitment to ethical standards,” he added.
The CBI, meanwhile, said it has taken note of the development.
“CBI is in the process of obtaining the recordings of the said conversation after which necessary action as per law would be taken,” a statement issued by the investigating agency said.
In 2007-08, when the government issued 122 new telecom licences, several rules were violated and bribes were paid to favour certain firms.
Several licences were issued to firms with no prior experience in the telecom sector or were ineligible or had suppressed relevant facts, comptroller and auditor general of India’s report had said.
The violations cost the exchequer $39 billion in lost revenue, the auditor said, equivalent to India's defence budget. This figure was contested by the government.
The telecom ministry's process of issuing licences "lacked transparency and was undertaken in an arbitrary, unfair and inequitable manner," the CAG had said, with the police accusing A Raja of having taken bribes from two firms which are now the local joint venture partners of Telenor and Etisalat.