Friday, December 17, 2010

Tamil NGO raided by CBI to continue its work

Chennai: The NGO linked to DMK MP Kanimozhi that was raided by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Friday said it would carry on its work of promoting Tamil culture and was confident its name would be cleared soon.

 "The raid has affected the public perception of Tamil Maiyam. People may doubt whether the trust is a beneficiary of 2G spectrum scam money. We are now taking action to correct any such negative perception," the NGO's founder and managing trustee Jegath Gaspar Raj told IANS.

 He said he is confident the name of Tamil Maiyam would be cleared as he actively cooperated with the CBI officials during the search. All the board members of the trust had called him up and expressed their solidarity with the trust, Raj added.

 Formed in 2002, Tamil Maiyam's main objectives are to promote Tamil art, literature and culture, and to create a platform for Tamil people across the world to interact, relate and work together for the betterment of Tamil as a language and Tamil society.

 Raj, a Catholic priest, said the Rs.4 crore Chennai Sangamam - an annual festival of Tamil Nadu's folk arts held here - will be held as scheduled and work to raise funds was on.
 "We have already raised about 30 percent of the event budget and are confident of raising the balance to hold the event," he said.

 The other major event organised by Tamil Maiyam is the Chennai Marathon at an outlay of Rs.2 crore.

 On the NGO's assets, he said it has a stability fund of Rs.1 crore, the interest from which is used to pay the salaries of 15 staff (13 full time and two part time). 

 "The total assets of the trust will be around Rs.1.5 crore," Raj said.

 Asserting the NGO has not received any of the 2G spectrum scam money, he admitted it had received Rs.300,000 from Green House Promoters for conducting the Chennai Sangamam. 

 Offices of the city-based Green House Promoters were searched by the CBI as it was promoted by a close associate of former communications minister A.Raja. The CBI also searched Raja's residences in New Delhi and in his native Perambalur in Tamil Nadu and that of his brothers and sisters in the raidsWednesday.

 Raj said he was not sure why the CBI raided his NGO. "It could be a combination of reasons like stifling my views on the Sri Lankan Tamils, association of DMK's Rajya Sabha member Kanimozhi with the trust or his view that Raja should not be tried by the media," he said.

 Kanimozhi, daughter of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.Karunanidhi, joined Tamil Maiyam as one of the board members in 2006.

 However Raj discounted the possibility of the trust being targeted by CBI as a warning signal to theTamil Nadu's first family members.

 "I don't think a central investigating agency would do that," Raj said.

 Raj assailed Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy and political commentator Cho Ramaswamy for terming him a LTTE agent.

 "I have consulted legal advisors and may file a criminal defamation suit against them," he said.

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