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OPINION | Too Many Swords in One Sheath: Relief May Give Way to Rift in Karunanidhi Clan

With a special CBI court acquitting all 2G scam accused, the DMK is publicly celebrating. But throughout this scam, Kanimozhi Karunanidhi was left out in the cold and had to fight it on her own.

Veeraraghav T M | TMVraghav

Updated:January 9, 2018, 5:30 PM IST
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OPINION | Too Many Swords in One Sheath: Relief May Give Way to Rift in Karunanidhi Clan
In this August 22, 2017 photo, DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi meets MDMK chief Vaiko at his Gopalpuram residence in Chennai as son MK Stalin and daughter Kanimozhi look on. (PTI)
In DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi's complex and enormous family, celebration and conspiracies can, sometimes, be difficult to tell apart.

With a special CBI court acquitting all 2G scam accused, the DMK is publicly celebrating. But throughout this scam, Kanimozhi Karunanidhi was left out in the cold and had to fight it on her own.

Kanimozhi is the daughter of Karunanidhi and his third wife Rajathi Ammal. Her half-brother MK Stalin, the son of Karunanidhi and Dayalu Ammal and now the top man in the party, had done little to support her. In fact, a section in the party clearly saw Kanimozhi's rise as a direct challenge to the heir apparent Stalin.

Cousin Dayanidhi Maran, whom A Raja had replaced as telecom minister, had fought a vicious battle against Kanimozhi. Dayanidhi and Kalanidhi are the sons of Karunanidhi's nephew and the late union minister Murasoli Maran. The Maran brothers control the Sun TV network.

It is alleged that Dayanidhi Maran was unseated as the telecom minister after Kanimozhi began asserting herself in the party. She was made a Rajya Sabha MP soon after his removal from the Cabinet and following a public battle within the family. After the war within, Karunanidhi severed ties with Sun TV and the DMK started its own Kalaignar TV.

Corporate financial dealings of Kalaignar TV was the crux of the 2G scam case and the major shareholder in it was Stalin's mother Dayalu Ammal. Kanimozhi, too, had 20 percent stake.

This is why it was bizarre that Stalin's mother remained untouched by investigators (she claimed she had no idea of financial dealings) and the case stopped with Kanimozhi.

It seemed as though all was fine as long as the matter stopped with Kanimozhi. It was surprising that no other family member, including Stalin, had any knowledge of such massive financial dealings, even though all of them were closely involved with the company.

The DMK Family Tree

In fact, in close political circles, the Congress, BJP and DMK leaders wondered if Kanimozhi was made a casualty to protect the rest of the family.

This reiterates how convoluted political families can be and how complex an investigation into the 2G scam was.

In public perception, Kanimozhi and Raja will now walk free, but everyone paid the price. The Congress and DMK were decimated electorally, and all accused spent time in jail.

Now, Kanimozhi can reiterate herself in the party, but Stalin may not allow that. There is no space for gratitude or benevolence in political families; everything is based on political convenience. Kanimozhi could be an alternate power center in the party and Stalin will not allow her to grow.

Now that there is an acquittal, A Raja may contest an election again and the BJP may move beyond 2G to seal an understanding with the DMK, which is the only big political force in Tamil Nadu since the demise of AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa last year.

From every larger political context 2G, one of the largest scams India ever saw, doesn't matter. It seems to have served its political utility. Even the corporates named would like it a closed chapter.

The only place where it would matter the most is in the convoluted family contours of M Karunanidhi’s family.

Some will celebrate, some will be unhappy, some will now begin to conspire. But what each brother, cousin, sister feels will be known only to them.

Individually, the accused can heave a sigh of relief. But what about the money, the alleged loss to the nation, the allegations of top corporate corruption? Guess, we will have to take it in our stride, like we take everything else.

(The author is a senior journalist. Views are personal.)

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| Edited by: Huma Tabassum
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