Chennai, Oct. 13: DMK leader M. Karunanidhi was questioned by police this evening over the kidnapping of Kannada film actor Rajkumar in 2000.
The actor was kidnapped by forest brigand Veerappan, who released him after 108 days in captivity allegedly after taking a large ransom.
Karunanidhi was questioned by two police officers for nearly an hour at his Gopalapuram residence here this evening. The investigating officers left without speaking to the media, but the 79-year-old former chief minister confirmed that he had been quizzed about the Rajkumar abduction.
The police had registered a case after chief minister Jayalalithaa promised during the budget session earlier this year that the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption would probe charges that a Rs 20-crore ransom was paid for the actor.
Former Karnataka director-general of police C. Dhinakar had alleged in his book, Rajkumar: Veerappan’s Prize Catch, that a big ransom had been paid with the knowledge of the Karunanidhi government which was in power then.
DMK treasurer and former electricity minister Arcot Veerasamy was questioned by the directorate over the same issue some months ago.
Jayalalithaa was attending a government function in Nagapattinam district when her predecessor was questioned today.
Karunanidhi said a district superintendent of police representing the Crime Branch-CID and a commissioner-level police officer had asked him “some questions” regarding the abduction.
The DMK chief said he informed them of the steps his government and the S.M. Krishna regime in Karnataka had taken to secure the actor’s release. He added that he had also explained the measures the two governments had jointly taken in the past to “safely rescue” VIPs kidnapped by Veerappan.
Karunanidhi said the actions taken by his government to secure Rajkumar’s release were “only on those already established lines”.
He told the police officers that when district superintendent of police Chidambaranathan was kidnapped by Veerappan in 1994, the chief secretary and the Coimbatore district collector offered the brigand certain concessions in order to secure the DSP’s release. Jayalalithaa was in power at the time.
Asked whether the questioning was an act of political vendetta, the former chief minister said: “What is the vendetta in this'”
He said the police had informed him earlier that they were coming to make some enquiries.