Chennai, March 11: Police have registered a case to investigate the transfer of Rs 30 lakh from London to the account of a woman whose husband is an anti-nuclear activist agitating against the Kudankulam project.
The cash transfer has added grist to suspicion that agitators against the Kudankulam nuclear plant project may be receiving foreign funds.
The Tirunelveli police registered a case under Section 102 of the CrPC against Ambika after the local branch of Canara Bank tipped off the police about the Rs 29,98,782 lakh deposited into her savings bank account through wire transfer from London. The money had been sent by Joshua Anand, a London-based software engineer.
Ambika is the wife of Thavasi Kumar, who is a member of the Kudankulam town panchayat and one of the protest leaders. Under Section 102, the police can take action against suspicious and fraudulent dealings.
According to Tirunelveli SP Vijayendra Bidari the police filed an FIR only after investigating the matter for over a week. “When neither Thavasi nor his wife had proper explanations, we registered the case. We will take a court order to freeze the account till investigations are complete,” he said.
Thavasi has claimed that since he was once Anand’s driver, the money had been transferred to buy property for his former employer. “But he had no documents like power of attorney given by Anand to prove his claim,” said a police officer probing the case.
The Centre had already accused the People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMANE), spearheaded by schoolteacher S.P. Udayakumar, of receiving foreign funds for its agitation that has been going on since August 2011.
“How can fishermen from six villages around Kudankulam who have not been going for fishing for almost a year manage unless they have some other source of funds?” minister of state V. Narayanaswamy had asked.
The PMANE agitators are against the commissioning of the two Russian-designed 1000 MW nuclear reactors in Kudankulam as they fear that the discharged water could increase the temperature of sea water and harm marine life and fisheries.
The Centre had last year cancelled the licences of two Delhi-based NGOs after a home ministry probe revealed their role in diverting funds to PMANE.
Udayakumar described the case as yet another instance of witch-hunt against anti-nuclear activists. “That they registered the case after we announced the latest agitation of laying siege to the plant from the sea proves their intent,” he alleged.
As part of a plan to revive the protest, fishermen from Kanyakumari, Tuticorin and Tirunelveli districts today defied prohibitory orders, came in boats with black flags hoisted atop them and laid siege about 500 metres from the plant.
They also did not venture into the sea to protest the government’s move to commission Unit-I of the plant by April. The protest had been planned to coincide with the second anniversary of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan.
The agitation had been petering out of late after the Jayalalithaa government made it clear that the plant would be operated at all costs. Only a handful of boats joined today’s siege.