A 30-minute family reunion
DMK chief and former Tamil Nadu chief minister M Karunanidhi arrived at Tihar jail on Monday evening to offer support and solace to his daughter and Rajya Sabha MP Kanimozhi, lodged at the sub-jail number six since Friday.
The father-daughter meeting, the first after Kanimozhi was sent to judicial custody in the 2G spectrum scam, lasted around 25-30 minutes, but was an emotional one.
Throughout the meeting, Kanimozhi's son Aditya — accompanied by Karunanidhi, her mother Rajathi Ammal and husband Aravindan — stood near his mother or sat on her lap. They met Kanimozhi at 5.30pm in the cabin of the sub-jail's deputy jail superintendent while officials and guards stayed outside with the doors ajar.
"Kanimozhi's eyes were moist but she managed to control herself. But Karunanidhi and Rajathi Ammal wept, and were seen wiping their eyes continuously," said a jail source. “They chatted animatedly in Tamil. It was very emotional.”
The source added, "Kanimozhi tried to comfort her parents, saying, 'Don't worry, I am innocent and we will fight it legally and come out unscathed. Karu-nanidhi replied saying he knew that she was innocent and has been framed." Aditya, meanwhile, was the centre of his mother's attention.
At around 6 pm, after Kanimozhi was taken back to her cell, as per Karunanidhi's request, the jail administration brought two other accused lodged in Tihar—former telecom minister A Raja and Kalaignar TV MD Sharath Kumar—to the cabin. "Karunandhi spoke to Raja and Kumar for another 20-25 minutes before returning at around 6.30 pm," said the source. While Raja is in sub jail one's ward nine, Kumar is at sub jail four's ward 15.
Karunanidhi entourage arrived at the Tihar's headquarters instead of at gate number 3, which provides access to sub jail number six. "They arrived at the headquarters due to a mistake but were then provided with four special visitors' passes that allowed them entry into jail number six from an internal route," said a jail source. Owing to the fact that Karunanidhi uses a wheelchair, "the jail administration accepted his request to meet Raja and Kumar at jail six," said the source.
Outside the jail's walls, several DMK functionaries stood vigil. "It's Kalaignar's personal visit, to share her grief," former Tamil Nadu dairy minister Madhiwanan told HT. Locals like Sushil Bajaj were there too. "I am here to see a spectacle—the law catching up with powerful people," said Baijal, who came with his daughter and son.