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‘Made more money…’ — after Annamalai’s ‘expose’, BJP attacks DMK over purported leaked audio of PTR

Chennai: An unverified audio, purportedly of Tamil Nadu finance minister Palanivel Thiaga Rajan (PTR), has gone viral on social media. In the audio, which is being shared widely by the Tamil Nadu functionaries of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), PTR seems to be allegedly saying that “both Udhay [Udhayanidhi Stalin, minister and son of Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam head and Chief Minister M.K. Stalin] and Sabre [V. Sabareesan, the CM’s son-in-law] have realised, they have made more money in one year… now it is getting into a problem. How to handle it…”

Though the source of the audio, which surfaced on social media Wednesday night, is not known, it has been shared by multiple handles on social media, including by whistleblower Savukku Shanker.

BJP state president K. Annamalai also shared the audio on Twitter Thursday, adding, “In a conversation with a journalist, TN State Finance Minister reveals that TN CM’s son Udhayanidhi & Son in Law Sabareesan have accumulated ₹30,000 Crores in a year. With every passing day, these substantiate the claims made by us in #DMKFiles.”

Just a week back, Annamalai had released a purported expose, called the DMK files, in which he had alleged money laundering by Sabareesan. Annamalai had also demanded details of who invested in Udhayanidhi’s film production company, Red Giant Movies. Udhayanidhi is also an actor-producer.

On Wednesday Udhayanidhi hit back with a legal notice to Annamalai, demanding unconditional apology for the “defamatory remarks”. The notice which was sent through DMK MP and advocate P. Wilson stated, “You have made defamatory allegations knowing full well the same are far from truth besides scandalous and malicious. In such a situation, you are liable to be prosecuted in law for defamation.” ThePrint has a copy of the notice.

BJP’s state president for sports and skill development cell, Amar Prasad Reddy, told ThePrint, however, that “the defamation cases are simple drama”. He also asked whether Udhayanidhi and Sabareesan would send defamation notices to Thiaga Rajan, a reference to the leaked audio.

“Everyone knows that they are looting money and are making money left right and centre and their trips [foreign trips] are all based on money laundering. Things have come into the limelight [now]. PTR has directly accused the CM’s family, son Udhayanidhi and son-in-law Sabareesan,” said Reddy.

He added, “What we have quoted in the DMK files are all in papers, and if a person like PTR says there is 30,000 crore then that is all black money.” In the audio PTR appears to claim that Udhayanidhi and Sabareesan had made Rs 30,000 crore.

The BJP leader also took a dig at Udhayanidhi on Twitter Thursday and posted that the DMK files had claimed Udhayanidhi’s asset to be worth Rs 2,039 crores, “but your Finance Minister [PTR] says it’s 30,000 crores. Sorry @Udhaystalin for quoting low figures for you. Will correct our data now.”

Political observers in the state, meanwhile, said the developments to be watched to determine possible impact.

“If the DMK ignores the leaked file then it will die down on its own. People have not voted for DMK because it is an honest party. If action is taken against PTR, even [something like] changing his portfolio, it will lead to the issue being blown out [of proportion],” political analyst Sumanth C. Raman told ThePrint.

ThePrint reached Thiaga Rajan for comment on call and text messages, but received no response till the time of publication of this report.

ThePrint also reached multiple other DMK leaders over phone, but they refused comment saying that the party high command was yet to issue a response.

Also read: DMK ward councillor held as 6-yr-old sexually assaulted in Tamil Nadu school. CM Stalin vows stringent action

DMK files and BJP exposé

On 14 April, the first day of the Tamil New Year, Annamalai released the first of the DMK files, which had purported details of alleged assets of several senior leaders of the party. The 15-minute video gave the alleged details of assets worth about Rs 1.34 lakh crore.

Annamalai had also stated that three more files on corruption by political parties which governed the state will be released before the 2024 parliamentary polls. Though the leader did not name any parties here, this would imply not just the DMK, but also the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK).

The BJP ‘exposé’ drew sharp criticism from DMK organisation secretary R.S. Bharati, who demanded an unconditional apology and Rs 500 crore as compensation from Annamalai, a former police officer. Udhayanidhi too has slapped a notice demanding Rs 50 crore compensation for the “defamatory remarks”, as mentioned above.

Meanwhile, Annamalai too served a notice to Bharati on grounds of defamation against him and the BJP. The BJP state president demanded compensation of Rs 501 crore from Bharati if he failed to tender an unconditional apology.

In a statement, Annamalai said, “R.S. Bharathi also placed an accusation stating that I got Rs 84 crore from Arundhati Finance Company. As this is a baseless accusation placed against me and the BJP, I demand Rs 500 crore and Re 1 as compensation which I will deposit in PM Cares fund.”

Talking about the BJP allegations against the DMK, Reddy further said, “When it comes to DMK it is very difficult to create one single file. It [corruption] is bigger than Baahubali [the blockbuster film], [the epics] Ramayana, or Mahabharata and we can file it as a web series.”

He added that in a padayatra scheduled to be held by the BJP in June, the party will bring to the fore the DMK’s the “corruption” in the DMK governance.

(Edited by Poulomi Banerjee)

Also read: Mamata 3rd CM, after Kejriwal & Pinarayi, to back Stalin’s fixed timeframe call for governor’s assent on bills

Source: The Print

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