The case of AM Sadhick Batcha, 47, is a classic rags-to-riches story after he hitched on to the emerging Dalit face of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), its district secretary A Raja, in his hometown Perambulur, 300 km south of Chennai, way back in 1998.
The one-time sari-seller graduated to selling residential plots to people working in the Gulf and subsequently got into touch with Raja. After that there was no looking back.
He is reported to have acquired land forcibly from several marginal farmers of Perambulur on behalf of his Green House Promoters, and later made a killing by selling it to MRF for its industrial estate.
As the closest aide of Raja, Batcha was believed to be in the know of all dealings and had allegedly handled money on his behalf. Raja had even met Batcha in Chennai at the government guesthouse before leaving for Delhi when he was arrested.
The CBI is also investigating if he was the link between the 2G money, hawala and the underworld. The real estate firm managed by Batcha was found to have played the most crucial role in the management of scam-tainted money.
It was after the 2G scam broke that Batcha's house and offices in Chennai were raided, along with the residences of Raja and his relatives in Perambulur and other places in Tamil Nadu. The CBI had also questioned Batcha closely.
DB Realty managing director Shahid Balwa, now in judicial custody in Delhi, has admitted in writing that it was through Batcha that he met Raja when he was the environment and forest minister.
The association is said to have grown after Raja became the telecom minister and allotted spectrum at throwaway prices to companies that later made a killing by selling it.