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Jaya & Mamata figure in DMK strikeback

Chennai, July 22: DMK chief Karunanidhi hit back at former Supreme Court judge and current Press Council of India chairman Markandey Katju, calling him an embodiment of contradictions.

“Katju, rather than implicating the DMK indirectly, should explain why he remained silent while he was chief justice of Madras High Court and as Supreme Court judge. Why did he not expose the judge then? Did he keep silent to get the chairmanship of the Press Council?” Karunanidhi asked in a letter in the party organ, Murasoli, addressed to his cadres.

Katju’s recent praise of Jayalalithaa — that she did not interfere with the judiciary when she was chief minister and he was chief justice of Madras High Court — also contradicted his own observation last year when he had wanted her to administer the state or resign, Karunanidhi claimed.

The DMK leader said the same Katju had in April 2013 suggested that Jayalalithaa resign as chief minister for failing to take action against policemen who had illegally arrested the editor of a Tamil daily in Madurai for exposing a granite quarrying racket.

When the Tamil Nadu counsel said he felt sorry, the PCI chairman had said: “Your sorry will not do. Let the chief minister (Jayalalithaa) say she is unable to run the government in accordance with the Constitution and submit resignation to the governor. We are not bothered who is at the helm. She has to administer (the government) as per the law of the land or should resign.”

Karunanidhi cited two instances where two former judges of Madras High Court allegedly suffered for giving adverse verdicts against Jayalalithaa. “While the water and power connection to one judge’s house was snapped, the son-in-law of another judge was arrested after a case was foisted on him. And Katju says Jayalalithaa never interfered with the judiciary,” Karunanidhi claimed.

The DMK leader also recalled how Katju had contradicted himself while commenting on Mamata Banerjee. “Integrity is becoming rare in public life in the country but Mamata’s integrity is of the highest order,” Katju had said on May 23, 2012. Six months later, on November 29, Katju had said: “Mamata Banerjee seems to have become intolerant and whimsical, and she is autocratic.”

“He (Katju) is an embodiment of contradictions and his recent comments are aimed at helping someone,” Karunanidhi said.

The issue raised by Katju has found wide support but the timing of his revelations continued to draw criticism.

“It is very unbecoming of an ex-SC judge to raise this now. By questioning the former Chief Justices, you are bringing down the institution,” PTI quoted Soli Sorabjee, a former attorney-general, as saying in Delhi.

“If he (Katju) says he was performing his duty, it was not his duty as the chairman of the Press Council. But if he says that as a citizen it was his duty, why did he not perform it earlier? He has acted in a very rash manner,” Sorabjee added.