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Diary & probe worry DMK
- Raja meets boss as party mulls ‘guilt’

Chennai, Dec. 10: Leaked diary entries, a time-bound inquiry into spectrum allocation and a dodgy business partner have put the DMK leadership in a quandary on how to deal with A. Raja.

After Wednesday’s CBI raids on Raja, his family and business associates, DMK president M. Karunanidhi continued to back him but added that action would be taken if he was found guilty. “Guilty at what stage?” is the question doing the rounds in DMK circles.

“NKKP Raja, a minister in the DMK state government, was dropped in 2008 after he was accused of kidnapping and land grabbing. He was expelled from the party when the police filed a chargesheet in 2009. Only when the court found him not guilty was he taken back and even then only his party post was given to him, not the ministry. By the same yardstick Raja should also go if the CBI files a chargesheet against him,” a senior DMK office-bearer said.

But party managers are worried about the timing of the chargesheet and fear it would hurt the DMK hard if it comes close to the May 2011 Assembly elections.

Today, Raja called on Karunanidhi to explain himself after the CBI raids. Raja spent 40 minutes with his boss at his daughter Kanimozhi’s house. Party sources said Raja had himself sought the appointment. The meeting was aimed at dispelling the notion that Raja had become persona non grata to the DMK chief, the sources explained.

Raja’s diary entries allegedly point to a series of hawala transactions and payments made to statepoliticians, business associates and journalists.

The suspicion among Raja’s colleagues in the DMK is that the diary was picked up from the Perambalur residence of Raja’s elder brother A. Kaliaperumal. “Such an important document could have been entrusted only to a family member,” a DMK lawyer said.

Another source of worry is the CBI interrogation of Raja’s business associate A.M. Sadik Basha, the managing director of Green House Promoters that was started in 2007 with a capital of Rs 1 lakh and reported a turnover of Rs 70 crore in its first year.

“The company’s growth has been dramatic with just two ongoing projects near Chennai and land acquisition on for an industrial estate at Perambalur,” said a CBI officer. The agency sees Basha as a key link in the money trail as he is said to have promoted five companies soon after Swan Telecom, a company allotted spectrum by Raja’s ministry, sold its shares to Etisalat.

A third headache for the DMK is the time-bound inquiry launched by telecom minister Kapil Sibal to find out if the spectrum allocation was above board. “It appears to be a Congress ploy to keep both the BJP, whose regime is also being probed, and the DMK in check since the decisions of both Dayanidhi Maran and A. Raja will come under scrutiny,” a senior DMK leader said.

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