New Delhi: Union minister M K Alagiri's land grab scam has been exposed but it's not just MK Karunanidhi's son who is involved. CNN-IBN investigation reveals the involvement of other top DMK leaders in land scams.
CNN-IBN has revealed the full extent of the land grabbing allegations against Alagiri's family with documentary evidence.
CNN-IBN has accessed documents to show how Alagiri's wife bought temple land worth over Rs 20 crores at just Rs 85 lakhs from a man facing over 50 criminal cases.
Kanthi Alagiri bought land from lottery king Santiago Martin, who faces over 50 criminal cases. Land worth over Rs 20 crore was sold to Kanthi Alagiri for Rs 85 lakhs in 2010.
The deal took place after Alagiri became Union minister. Other key Alagiri aides have been arrested on criminal charges.
After Alagiri, the question being asked is: did land grabbing start and stop with the DMK's first family or did it percolate through the party.
CNN-IBN finds that more than three former ministers and at least three other senior DMK leaders face allegations of grabbing land across Tamil Nadu.
Amongst them are:
Veerapandi Arumugam, DMK's Salem strongman and former agriculture minister
KN Nehru, former transport minister and Trichy strongman who is related to union minister of state Napolean
Paruthi Ilamvazhuthi, former Information minister and deputy general secretary of the DMK
J Anbhazhagan, Stalin's right hand man and power center in Chennai.
In Salem, an FIR has been filed against Veerapandi Arumugam for grabbing land worth Rs 85 crores from 24 families in a colony.
"Those people didn't give us even time to pack our things. They chased us out of our own homes and left us to the streets and even threatened us," said Uma, victim.
"If the minister was not involved at all, why did the entire bureaucracy including the collector, tahsildar, RDO, Commissioner not respond to our complaints? Why did everyone turn a blind eye?" said Gunaseelan.
Arumugam has been arrested by the police. But the DMK claims allegations against all its leaders are part of political vendatta.
"All the cases foisted by the AIADMK govt are false. Jayalalithaa is just indulging in vendetta politics," said M Karunanidhi, DMK President.
It's a charge Jayalalithaa denies. "Land grabbing cases cannot be described as vendetta politics. Complaints of land grabbing was there in the last 5 years. After this government assumed charge, the people started approaching the police. The police were unable to cope with the number of cases coming in so we had to set up special cells. The complainants have no political backing. So no question of vendetta politics," she said.
But despite the DMK claiming it's vendetta politics, Jayalalithaa seems all set to ensure that the land grabbing issue is dealt with seriously. The Tamil Nadu Police has set up special anti-land grabbing cells and over 1500 cases have already been filed and are being investigated at the moment. And the fact that several of the DMK leaders are facing charges comes as a huge embarrassment for the party and not just for the first family.