Feud between Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam's first family and the Maran brothers resurfaced on Wednesday with Union Minister for Chemical and Fertiliser M K Alagiri's son foraying into the Marans-dominated cable TV business in Chennai.
Alagiri, Madurai-based DMK strongman and elder son of Chief Minister M Karunanidhi, and his wife Kanthimathi inaugurated their son Dayanidhi's multi-system operator (MSO) firm JAK Communications.
JAK will soon begin its commercial operations in the Conditional Access System (CAS) notified area of Chennai metropolis, a company release said.
Dayanidhi said JAK MSO would be competitive on technological and pricing fronts. Asked whether the JAK's bouquet would include Sun Network channels (owned by Maran brothers), he said a "request" had been made and sounded hopeful of getting them.
JAK MSO has been started with an investment of Rs 50 crore, said Jayaraman Kamalesh, adding that license had been obtained to lay 200 km of underground cable in Chennai.
Dayanidhi along with Kamalesh, a close associate of his father, will head the JAK MSO.
Dayanidhi also said they hoped to capture 17 lakh subscribers in a phased manner in Chennai, where the cable TV distribution is monopolised by Sumangali Cable Vision (SCV) owned by Kalanidhi and Dayanidhi Maran - grandnephews of Karunanidhi.
The cable TV war broke out in the state after the Maran brothers fell out of favour with Karunanidhi family which launched its own Kalaignar TV to compete with SUN TV network.
Alagiri's son is also operating Royal Cable Vision, an MSO, in Madurai. There were complaints that Alagiri's men had snapped the cables of SCV, owned by Karunanidhi's grandnephews.
The previous Jayalalithaa government had attempted to break the monopoly of Maran-owned SCV by enacting a legislation nationalising multi-system operations in Tamil Nadu. But this did not take off because of the Centre refusal.
Relations between Karunanidhi's family and Maran brothers were strained after a Tamil daily owned by the latter published a survey in 2007 placing DMK patriarch's second son M K Stalin far ahead of Alagiri to be his heir.
Alagiri's son Dayanidhi was forced to quit the Union Cabinet at the height of the feud.