The controversy over a Union Minister from Tamil Nadu allegedly putting pressure on Justice R Regupathy of the Madras High Court to grant anticipatory bail for a doctor-son duo wanted in a fraud mark-sheet case, took a dramatic turn on Thursday, with the opposition AIADMK leader, Jayalalithaa identifying the Minister as the DMK's nominee in the UPA Cabinet, A Raja.
"Though the Honourable Judge refrained from naming the Union Minister, it does not require any super-human intelligence to conclude that it was none other than the telecom scam-tainted A Raja," the former State Chief Minister said in a hard-hitting statement released in Chennai.
The Judge had disclosed in the open Court on June 29 that a Union Minister had "called him and sought to influence him" to grant anticipatory bail for one Dr C Krishnamurthy and his son Kirubha Sridhar. The duo was wanted by the CBI, which is probing a case of fraudulently altering Sridhar's MBBS mark-sheet to make him pass.
Terming the episode as "terribly shocking", Jayalalithaa said this was the first time in India that a "sitting High Court Judge is accusing a Union Minister of threatening him. Such a Minister deserves to be sacked from the Union Cabinet."
Dr Krishnamurthy who hails from Perambalur, which is also the native district of the Union Telecom Minister, A Raja, has been very closely associated with the latter in various business deals, Jayalalithaa alleged.
Before he became Union Minister, Raja "reportedly had his law office in a building owned by Krishnamurthy". Further, In January 2007 Krishnamurthy at Raja's behest, promoted a real estate firm in the textile city of Coimbatore , called 'Kovai Shelters Promoters India Pvt Ltd", the AIADMK leader alleged.
Charging that Raja along with Krishnamurthy and some of their other associates was indirectly involved in several other business partnerships including sand and granite quarrying contracts, Jayalalithaa said, the present Union Minister from the DMK had also caused a loss of nearly Rs One lakh crores to the Government of India, "through a faulty spectrum allocation policy during his earlier stint as Telecom Minister."
"Raja ought not to have been made Minister again under the new UPA dispensation," said Jayalalithaa. If the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh "continues to turn a 'Nelson's eye to the undesirable and illegal activities of his Cabinet colleague from the DMK, he would be doing the Nation and democracy a tremendous disservice," the AIADMK leader cautioned.
Meanwhile, the issue rocked the Tamil Nadu Assembly also today with almost the entire opposition led by the AIADMK staging a walkout after demanding that the DMK Government should state its position on the controversy raging for the past three days.
The State Law Minister, Durai Murugan, however, said the Government could not say anything in the matter until the High Court Judge, who reportedly made those remarks in the open court, named the Union Minister involved in the first place.