Friday, March 11, 2011

AIADMK signs eighth seat-sharing pacts

Chennai, March 11 : Tamil Nadu's major opposition party AIADMK Friday signed its eighth seat-sharing agreement for the April 13 assembly elections, allotting the TNKYF one seat.

The deal was signed after the representatives of TNKYF met AIADMK chief J. Jayalalithaa at her residence here.

The AIADMK Thursday beefed up its star power allotting two seats to SMK, a largely Nadar community party, floated by actor-turned-politician R. Sarathkumar.

Sarathkumar is the third film hero to have entered the AIADMK fold after Vijayakant whose DMDK has got 41 seats to contest in the polls and M. Karthik, a Thevar, whose party NMK has announced support to Jayalalithaa. 

One more action hero likely to extend support to AIADMK is C. Vijay who toyed with the idea of joining the Congress last year and also met Rahul Gandhi in 2009.

Till date, the AIADMK has reached agreement with eight parties for 52 of the total 234 seats in the state assembly, allotting 41 to DMDK, two each to the PT and the SMK, three to the MNMK and one each to the Republican Party of India, the Forward Bloc and the AIMMK.

It is yet to finalise the seat sharing details with the two left parties - Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) and the Communist Party of India (CPI) - and its long time ally, MDMK led by Vaiko.

We are cooperating with CBI: Kanimozhi

Chennai: DMK MP and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi's daughter Kanimozhi, who was questioned by CBI on the 2G spectrum allocation scam, on Friday said full cooperation was being extended to the agency.

"We are answering everything and whatever is required. We are cooperating with CBI, unlike many political leaders who don't," Kanimozhi, who was questioned along with Karunanidhi's wife Dayalu at the DMK headquarters here, told reporters.

This showed their intention to "come out clean" on the issue, she said. 
Kanimozhi said she was "asked to substantiate" on the statement issued by Kalaignar TV Managing Director Sharad Kumar on certain financial dealings.

Kanimozhi, who along with Dayalu collectively holds 80 per cent stake in the DMK-backed channel, said DMK never pressured the (Central) government on dealing with the case and added that the Supreme Court was monitoring the probe.

"Do you want me toe the BJP line," she shot back when asked if the Congress-led UPA was trying to use CBI against political parties. 
Kalaignar TV had recently denied CBI's allegations that there was a connection between scam accused Shahid Balwa-promoted Swan Telecom and the channel, with the agency telling a court that "it has also come to light that there was a transaction of Rs 214 crore from Cineyug Films Private Limited to Kalaignar TV in 2009". 

Kumar had denied receiving pay-offs from DB realty, whose former chief Balwa is in CBI net along with former Union Telecom Minister A Raja. 

CBI questions Kanimozhi, Karunanidhi's wife in 2G scam

Chennai, March 11 : Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi's daughter Kanimozhi and his second wife Dayalu Ammal were Friday questioned by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in connection with the 2G scam.

A four-member CBI team from New Delhi quizzed the two at Kalaignar TV office located on the top floor of the DMK headquarters here.

Informed sources say the CBI team started its questioning of Kanimozhi and Dayalu Ammal around 11 a.m. and ended its session around 2 p.m.

The CBI officials and Kanimozhi rushed out of the venue without speaking to the media.

Karunandhi's family members are believed to have majority state in Kalaignar TV Pvt Ltd, which received Rs.200 crore from Cineyug Films, connected to Swan Telecom's Shahid Usman Balwa, who is under arrest in connection with the spectrum scam.

Kanimozhi and Dayalu Ammal came to Kalaignar TV office around 10.30 a.m. and soon after that the CBI team arrived.

P. Amrathan, a director of Kalaignar TV who is close to the family, also came to the office.

CBI officials here were quiet, saying a team from New Delhi was doing the job of questioning.

Karunanidhi's family members reportedly have a majority stake in the regional TV channel. While Kanimozhi is said to have 20 percent stake in the TV channel, Dayalu Ammal has 60 percent stake.

The balance 20 percent is with Kalaignar TV managing director Sharad Kumar, the sources say.

Balwa is one of the accused in the scam. His Swan Telecom was allegedly favoured by former communications minister and DMK MP A. Raja in the allocation of second generation (2G) spectrum licences to telecom firms.

The CBI is probing if there was any quid pro quo under which Balwa transferred funds to the TV channel and in return got 2G spectrum licences at throwaway prices, the sources said.

Balwa and Raja are among the four people in jail in connection with the corruption scandal that is said to have caused the exchequer massive losses.

The CBI is visiting the television channel office for the second time in a month. On Feb 18, it raided the Kalaignar TV office early in the morning and questioned senior officials including Sharad Kumar.

On Feb 16, Kalaignar TV welcomed investigative agencies to verify its books and documents.

"The CBI or Income Tax Department (IT) can inspect our books and documents any time they want. We do not have any objection," Sharad Kumar said in a statement.

Two days later, CBI officials from New Delhi knocked at the channel's doors at around midnight and completed the questioning of officials before dawn.

Kumar said Kalaignar TV had no connection with the 2G spectrum allocation made in 2007-08 and the loan transaction with Cineyug Films Pvt Ltd in 2009.

"Despite the clarification, the CBI has mentioned about the loan transaction in the court," he said.

According to Kumar, Cineyug gave some money as advance towards the acquisition of stakes in Kalaignar TV in 2009.

Kanimozhi had earlier told IANS that she is not even a director in Kalaignar TV and the day to day operations of the channel are carried out by Kumar.

CBI's questioning of Kanimozhi and Dayalu comes at a time when the DMK is in the process of interviewing aspiring candidates for the April 13 assembly polls.

DMK is also involved in discussions with its allies - Congress, PMK and others - in finalising the constituencies from which each one of them would fight the elections.

Congress-DMK talks to identify constituencies continue

Chennai: The DMK and Congress on Friday continued their talks to identify constituencies both parties would contest as alliance partners under a seat sharing deal for the April 13 Tamil Nadu Assembly polls.

"The talks are continuing. They are satisfactory. We will meet in the evening to continue the talks," TNCC president K V Thankgabalu told reporters at DMK headquarters Anna Arivalayam. 
Under the seat sharing agreement reached between the two parties on Tuesday, Congress will contest 63 seats and DMK 121. 

Congress sources indicated that the present exercise will be concluded by this evening.