NEW DELHI: The CBI on Thursday raided the home of DMK leader, Mr M K Stalin — two days after the ally pulled out of the UPA — triggering a political controversy with an upset Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh saying its timing was “unfortunate”.
An angry DMK said the CBI raid at the Chennai home of party supreme, Mr M Karunanidhi’s son was an act of “political vendetta” while the Centre disapproved of the searches and said it was not aware of the events.
Under fire for conducting the searches, the CBI sought to defend its action, saying it was “strictly” in accordance with procedures and there was no intention whatsoever to target any particular individual.
“We are all upset at these events. The government had no role in this that I am sure of. We will find out the details. This should not have… (happened). The timing of the raid is most unfortunate,” Dr Singh said reflecting the Centre’s anguish over the raids.
Searches were carried out at 19 places across Tamil Nadu, including at Mr Stalin’s home on Thursday morning in a case of alleged tax evasion of imported cars prompting strong reactions even from the Centre. The Finance Minister, Mr P Chidambaram was among the ministers who disapproved of the searches within hours after it started. The Telecom Minister, Mr Kapil Sibal said “somebody has played mischief” having full knowledge of the political situation.
Mr Stalin (60), considered as a political heir to 88-year-old Mr Karunanidhi, called the action a “political vendetta” but the DMK supremo himself did not want to speculate and appear to share his son’s conclusion.
Asked if he thought the CBI raid was part of a “political vendetta” as described by Mr Stalin, an enigmatic DMK chief said, “Generally DMK is being subjected to acts of political vendetta. This may be or may not be one of such acts.”
He, however, indicated he believed that the action had been taken without the government’s knowledge as claimed by central ministers.
“If the Central minister says that the raids happened without the knowledge (of the government), I cannot say I cannot believe it,” Mr Karunanidhi said replying to a question by reporters in Chennai. The DMK, which pulled out of the UPA on Tuesday, withdrew its ministers on Wednesday.
In New Delhi, the CBI came out with a statement explaining why the searches were carried out in the case registered on Wednesday.
“The CBI wishes to clarify that the operation was strictly in accordance with procedures and there was no intention whatsoever to target any particular individual,” it said.
Mr Chidambaram said he strongly disapproved of CBI action.
“Whatever be the reason, I am afraid, it is bound to be misunderstood. I have conveyed my views to minister in-charge,” the Finance Minister told PTI. Mr V Narayanasamy, who is the Minister of State in the PMO and Department of Personnel and Training, is the minister in-charge of the CBI.
Endorsing Mr Chidambaram’s views, the Parliamentary Affairs Minister, Mr Kamal Nath said, “I strongly disapproved the action against Stalin.”
The BJP said the CBI searches are an example of “blatant” misuse of power by the UPA government for its survival and proves that it uses the probe agency to muffle allies who are walking out of the ruling coalition.
The issue was also raised in Parliament with BJP leader Mr M Venkaiah Naidu alleging that the party which withdrew the support to the UPA government was raided by the CBI and said it meant the government “controlled” the CBI.