By becoming AIADMK boss, has Sasikala bitten more than she can chew?

Sasikala Natarajan has been “elected” as the General Secretary of Tamil Nadu’s ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam. That she is on probation till a proper election takes place in April 2017 is a little aside … which may turn out to be important later!

Will Jayalalithaa’s ex-aide ape Congress President Sonia Gandhi claim to ‘sacrifice the trappings of power’ and yet wield it till she is allowed to do so?

The next natural move will be to make her the state’s Chief Minister.

Will the combination of all these events prove to be the nemesis of Dravidian brand of politics in TN?

The indications are ominous.

By Lazy Fly

Following the so-called election of Sasikala as the ruling AIADMK General Secretary giving her virtual control over the party, the state’s political conundrum has become murkier. One of India’s greatest self-professed political fixers – provided some surprising answers. 

Sporting a half-sleeved long silk Kurta and pyjamas – attire that look better on Prime Minister Narendra Modi – the  political manipulator par excellence known as MG was spotted at the Chennai Press Club. A spitting image of the late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s flunkey, Makhan Lal Fotedar the political lobbyist calls himself MG. “It stands for Maha Guru and also sits comfortably as Minimum Guarantee, he informs those who are foolish enough to listen to him. Often, he cites own aphorisms and terms them as the Holy Minds’ Voices, earning him the sobriquet – HMV. His predictions are of the Nostradamus variety … puzzling … yet can be cited as indicative of any eventuality. So, he is referred to as the now outdated Long Playing Old Record [LPOR], cassette tape [CT] video-cassette-disc [VCD], political predicament predictor [PPP], fixer-of the deadly instigation [FDI] and first-class rascally abomination [FCRA].

“We meet after a long time, boyo,” PPP said, sipping a liquid from a whiskey glass that seemed thicker than usual. The drink had a slight yellow tinge. Bedecked with a lot of powdered ice it had a sort of tiara comprising a piece of lemon-peel and brandied cherries.

The backyard of the joint [it has no bar licence and hence consumption of hard liquor in that place is technically illegal] abuts a smaller hall whose frontage has a cement-concrete quadrangle overlooking a webbed shuttlecock court. Chennai’s mild winter evening was yet to really set in. Hence, bites of mosquitoes emanating from the gutter called Buckingham Canal located virtually next door were yet to begin their torture. Despite all this, it is a prestigious address. It stands cheek by jowl alongside the State Guest House and legislators’ quarters within a government estate named after a late CM – Omandur Ramaswamy Reddiyar.

“Someone close to Natarajan, husband of Tamil Nadu’s most powerful political stepmother – Sasikala – wanted to pick my brains. I will be advising him as to how Natarajan should guide his wife to stay afloat in the political swamp of TN,” FDI quipped as his opening gambit.

Chennai’s walls are full of posters hailing the recently dead Chief Minister Jayalalithaa with a suggestive image of Sasikala as her heir. The latter, called Chinnammaa [or maternal aunt – whose other meaning is step mother], has a bigger mug visible on the posters.  Undoubtedly, the ex-female paramedic and former seller of video cassettes has the support of almost all the 137 legislators of the party. All of them have now “elected” her as the ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam’s [AIADMK] General Secretary “unanimously”. The next step will be her being made the CM. The inevitable contest from the Radhakrishnan Nagar constituency where by-elections will have to be held following the death of Jayalalithaa will be the extension of the current political development. Rather strangely, Chief Minister O Panneerselvam [OPS] said that the resolution moved in a marriage hall located some 18 km northwest of the Poes Garden residence of the late Jaya where Sasikala is presumed to be a squatter – was accepted by Sasikala, “unanimously”.

But, the face of Sasikala is uniformly defaced or torn in almost all the wall -posters leading one to think that the party faithful hate Sasikala. This means, while the legislators could be on the side of Sasikala, AIADMK cadres and the people at large in TN are opposed to this move.

“Are you going to suggest that Natarajan should get his wife to be the party’s CM after her election as the outfit’s GS?”

I asked the obvious question.

During Jayalalithaa’s funeral, Sasikala stood by the side of the body, rode the cortege and performed a lead role in burying her long-time boss. Prime Minister Modi was seen blessing her. Such was the power generated by Sasikala’s presence that all the ministers including the current CM [now nicknamed Oops] looked like props from a flop movie. Virtually, everyone who is somebody in the AIADMK is begging her to take up the important assignments and thus save Tamil Nadu. As Jaya was dead, it was a real funeral. The other one will be a political funeral implying the death of the AIADMK,” VCD observed.

“The husband of another person also named Sasikala was beaten black and blue, in the AIADMK office premises simply because the man wanted to file a nomination to the post – he could have never won. Are these straws in an evil wind?” I asked in a crestfallen tone.

“Isn’t the whole thing obvious to you?”

The Maha Guru infuriatingly beat around the bush.

“Consider me a little slow and tell me the verdict,” I snapped.

“Look at the scenario, before hearing the verdict. Virtually everyone eats out of Sasikala’s hand and grovels before her. Till the other day, a huge contingent of cops – numbering around 250 – guarded the Poes Garden residence – of the earlier CM Jaya – where Sasikala seems to be ensconced for good. Doesn’t that convey the clear message?”

The LPOR came up with another query that led to nowhere.

“Well, the DMK crown prince MK Stalin pointed out the gaffe – of the cops and the police force has been replaced by a private army. It seems she has beaten a hasty retreat at least on that front,” I said.

“Just suppose she was conveying a message to all and sundry that she was ‘democratically minded’ and that she ordered the withdrawal of the cops in uniform the moment an objection surfaced. Without saying in so many words, tacitly, Sasikala has indicated that she is in possession of a will or some document that renders her stay in the residence of the late CM “officially sanctioned.” Now that she has been elected the party’s all powerful GS, isn’t the indication obvious to you?” The FCRA asked a pointed query.

I was confused.

“So, will she be the queen of Tamil Nadu in Jaya’s place and be the CM?”

I rephrased my earlier question with trepidation.

“Why should she take the plunge? She seems to be controlling the state as an unconstitutional power and seems to be more powerful than OPS who cannot win his seat again from any constituency in TN! For that matter, Sasikala too has zero charisma and can’t win from any constituency on her own, unless the elections are rigged. Can’t you see that she is playing the same game as Sonia Gandhi did during the 2 United Progressive Alliance [UPA] regimes? [See: https://haritsv.wordpress.com/2016/05/22/sonia-gandhi-indias-lady-macbeth/] Natarajan is a street smart man! Sasikala stands to gain the people’s sympathy and don the mantle of a sacrificing person by refusing an official position – and yet be the real power-wielder from behind the throne. It is the best of both the worlds. If Sasikala does decide to take the plunge, sooner or later the regime will would fall as the decisions of Jaya’s former aide will be seen as the AIDS affecting the AIADMK by many. This could lead to some legislators during a no-confidence motion – if it is ever moved on the issue of the mysteries surrounding Jaya’s death. That would bring the edifice down because a Division Bench of the Madras High Court has demanded some serious answers surrounding the earlier CM’s “sudden death”. If Sasikala is forced to cede to such a request, more skeletons will tumble out. If she doesn’t, the court could order exhumation of the body. Suppose something serious is found missing in it? It would be a terrible scandal! Those who have pinned their hopes on making more money through Sasikala and/or her flunkey Oops being at the helm of affairs will lose faith, which could also spell doom for the AIADMK government. It is a lose-lose proposition all the way with little leeway to yell oops,” the ‘minimum guarantee’ spat the words out.

“You mean to say she will refuse the trappings of power, pretend to have made sacrifices and yet hold the trappings of power in the inside of her palms by continuing with OPS?” I asked the question in a voice that dripped with incredulity.

“You journalists can’t see beyond your silly noses. If earlier reports are to be believed, Karunanidhi – actually controls her. Other reports said that the DMK has a list of 42 legislators who were and probably are willing to cross the floor in case a no-confidence motion is set in motion. The DMK has enough numbers on its own – nearly 90 – and more than 37 – the magic figure of a third of the AIADMK floor strength to register a split. When Karunanidhi has the strength to be CM himself, why would he allow his moll to be CM?”

“Are you saying that the DMK will topple the government to stop Sasikala?”

I asked in sheer disbelief.

“Why should Karunanidhi do that, for God’s sake? He controls Sasikala, in turn Sasikala controls OPS, and OPS would want to enjoy the trappings of power just as Dr Manmohan Singh did during UPA I & II. It is a comfortable arrangement that suits all the three. That is just the beginning. The situation would suit the Bharatiya Janata Party at the centre as it could get things done in TN without having anyone in the state or cadre strength worth the name. Since Karunanidhi could be exercising control, the set-up would suit the Congress too. Karunanidhi can keep everyone in the party guessing about the anointment of Stalin as his heir and/or future working President and thus retain control of the party on the one hand and avoid antagonising his other children – like Alagiri and Kanimozhi. In the background, Sasikala’s husband Natarajan too would enjoy power without any authority whatsoever! It reeks of comfort to everyone. But, Sasikala cannot remain in that position of what Sonia did in Delhi for too long. Sonia is the widow of former PM Rajiv Gandhi and Sasikala is married to someone whose arrest had been ordered by Jayalalithaa’s cops. Simply put, if a tossed coin lands on heads, Sasikala loses big. If it shows tails, she loses bigger. If it stands on its rim, the suspense in the state will trigger a chaos and cause a mid-term poll and Sasikala will lose the biggest. But, in such a scenario, neither the AIADMK not the DMK can hope to cobble majorities on their own as Karunanidhi cannot do much electioneering. The present status quo ante only suits the speechless wonder OPS for whom dumbness is the comfortable, snug, smug motto,” the FCRA guffawed.

This averment had a wee bit of logic. However, I was not ready to give up.

“The BJP shot itself in the mouth by getting the income tax department to raid former Chief Secretary Ram Mohan Rao. The entire opposition in TN seems to be supporting the man alleged of huge corruption. Rao himself told the press that he fears for his life at the hands of agent provocateurs from the centre. Besides, other opposition parties allege a constitutional crisis seconding the quotes of Rao,” I said in an injured tone to register my protest.

“Look at the scenario. To throw a scare into OPS, Sasikala could have passed on the details of Rao’s secret treasurer – Sekar Reddy – to the IT authorities. The raid unearthed links with Rao and in turn exposed one Parasmal Lodha in Calcutta. After the raid on Reddy, OPS fell in line and beseeched Sasikala to don the important mantles. But, since then, Rao said that the raid could not have happened had Jaya been alive. That is a direct threat issued to Sasikala and OPS! But, there is one minor unanswered question. What about the dozens of crores of rupees seized from the residence of Rao and those of his near and dear? He has not denied the seizure or has alleged that the money was planted. Simply put, he has compounded his blunder. Suppose Sasikala and/or OPS decide to make Rao the fall guy, and he exposes more names, the defecation will hit the fan and the stink will be nauseating,” the Guru laughed at his own joke.

“This is fantastic. But, such a scenario would suit none – not the ruling AIADMK, not the opposition DMK and certainly not the BJP whose presence in TN is close to zilch,” I said rather weakly.

“That is what everyone would want. Sasikala and Natarajan would want to keep the Damocles Sword hanging over every head to squeeze as much as they can. Whenever the regime is toppled, Sasikala and Natarajan who have no children of their own – can go abroad for some treatment of some feigned illness and never return – thus retaining all the riches – acquired during Jaya’s hospitalisation as suspected, by hook or by crook. Sasikala too knows that she cannot win any election anywhere in TN. So would be the case with OPS and others. During the mid-term polls the DMK would be placed somewhat better and win more seats. As she is Karunanidhi’s moll, one would expect her to ingratiate herself with her former boss. But, Karunanidhi may want to be the interim CM during the suspenseful interregnum by pulling down Sasikala’s regime if she becomes CM. That would give the DMK an edge. Better still, Karunanidhi may advise the governor to dissolve the assembly and seek a fresh mandate. But, no party would win a majority … and it would have to be a coalition regime. In such a scenario, the BJP will dictate terms. To avoid embarrassment, Karunanidhi will go slow on the corruption charges to keep his own flock intact – some of whom may be those who desert Sasikala! The likes of Rao could then prove to be flies in many ointments. BJP may think of other raids in case political enemies in TN decide to cancel each other out in a game of mutually assured destruction. In the end, the Augean Stables of TN will continue to remain eternally dirty. This much can be discerned from the comfy fates of Vijay Mallya, Lalit Modi and for that matter the joker called Zakir Naik – all of whom are having a ball abroad! For all that threats against Robert Vadra by the BJP, has any realistic action been taken against Sonia’s son-in-law? The television channels were full of stories about the villainy of former Air Force boss – who was arrested and then released make the Central Bureau of Investigation look like a bunch of ninnies in the Agusta Westland affair. Promises of action will kept eternally as promises – and never fulfilled. Whenever someone raises a question, very conveniently, just as the BJP blames UPA for everything – perhaps with some justification – the realigned parties in TN could term the whole thing as a sly game of the “communal BJP” to destroy the so-called Dravidian culture! In the end, everyone would lose!”

The Guru smiled mischievously.

“All this is speculation. You keep forgetting something. There is this wonderful man called Subramanian Swamy who hopes to be CM of TN, if not the PM of India. He would stop at nothing!”

I thought I had scored the bull’s eye.

It resulted in CT’s derision.

“Little pen-pusher Pinocchio, you are wet behind your ears. Sasikala was introduced to Jaya by former IAS officer Chandralekha, one of the mainstays in the party founded by Swamy and his alter ego in TN! The go between was Natarajan! You should read other material to understand the maze called TN! Besides, Dr Swamy is a close friend of Dr Pratap Reddy of Apollo hospital where Jaya spent her last 75 days. Reddy’s daughter has links snaking into the biz empire of Karunanidhi’s grandnephews – the Maran siblings – facing prosecution in the Aircel-Maxis case and also the illegal telephone exchange. Apollo offices were raided by the CBI in the past when UPA was in power! Swamy took Jaya to court in the disproportionate assets case in 1996, which was later ‘adopted’ by the DMK. Jaya is dead, but Sasikala is yet to be exonerated in that. The DMK has its own cup of woe held by Karunanidhi’s daughter Kanimozhi in the matter concerning 2G Spectrum auctions. The Congress led UPA took action that send A Raja, the minister and Kanimozhi to prison. But the same Congress voted to send Kanimozhi to the Rajya Sabha! In politics, everyone has fingers in every dirty pie. You media hacks will never understand these these concentric rings and their ringleaders,” the fixer said and took a long gulp from his drink.

It was time to change the subject, as the whole thing had become too controversial.

“Before I forget, tell me about your exotic cocktail – that looks rather strange,” I said.

“This has a strange significance to the situation in TN. The drink is called Perfect Amaretto Sour. Its ingredients are: 1.50 ounces of the almond flavoured Italian liqueur that comes from Saronno, Italy. It has a dash of nice bourbon produced in Bardstown, Kentucky, USA called Noah’s Mill. TN politics like the Ark who was created and floated by the Biblical character Noah, has every type of political creature of the modern era in its leaky boat. The drink also contains .50 ounce of beaten egg white and an ounce of lemon juice that lends the light yellow hue. Before you ask the next question, I will give you two details that will trigger a hue and cry. Amaretto, in Italian means “a little bitter”. And Saronno is a town located a bit northwest of the Italian town of Vicenza – the original home of Congress boss Sonia Gandhi!”

Before I could yell ‘Egad’, the Guru’s phone glowed and showed an SMS.. It was obviously important. He left the Press Club and the glass behind without a word for his meeting.

I gingerly took a drop of the cocktail to discern its taste. It was indeed very sour.

 

Rs.20 lakh crores from granite loot applied in TN’s ongoing political mischief?

Where is the illegal cash stash of Rs.20 lakh crores plus [US$290 billion] looted from the people of Tamil Nadu through the granite export scandal hidden?

Are most state and central government agencies brazenly lying and covering up the massive – open robbery? Are they reporting less than chick-feed in this instance of sheer buccaneering?

The answer to the above queries – is in a single word – YES!

Simply put, some Rs.20 lakh crores are out there – robbed from the people of Tamil Nadu – readily available and in forms conducive for conspiring to shamefully indulge in political mischief. Incidentally, the money – exists either in hard currency or in different forms of camouflage in India and/or abroad. Sadly, it is not in the crisp new freshly printed Rs.2000 cash variety.

The trillion dollar question: How much of it is being used through the “good offices” of granite brigand PR Palanisamy? He belongs to the same community as the political upstart Sasikala Natarajan. His connections snake into the living rooms of ruling AIADMK and the main opposition DMK bigwigs!

According to a press statement issued by the Enforcement Directorate on December 23 2016, property worth Rs.44 crores – in connection with the money laundering probe in the Madurai Granite Scam was attached, bringing the total amount to Rs.572 crores. This money was seized from “business associates” of PRP!

The scandal is worth in excess of Rs.20 lakh crores. And that is an understatement!

In June 2016, from the highest level of the Madras High Court, a fiat was issued to the state government, demanding the submission of a “composite report” on the granite scandal – whose value was pegged at Rs.1.1 lakh crores by the U Sagayam Commission.

Popular Tamil magazine Ananda Vikatan had published the gist of this scandal. Operative excerpts:

Madurai District Collector Sagayam initially estimated that the illegal granite quarrying was worth Rs.16,000 crores. He sent a report to the state government. Instead of taking action on the report, Jayalalithaa turned against the officer and transferred him. The Madras High Court appointed Sagayam to look into the illegal granite quarrying. But, the Jayalalithaa government did nothing to implement the order. Instead of taking strict action against those involved in the act, the government is creating roadblocks to stall the investigations. 

A MUST READ BLOG TO UNDERSTAND TAMIL NADU POLITICS: https://haritsv.wordpress.com/2016/12/12/will-tamil-nadu-become-hell-by-hailing-step-mother-sasikalas-leadership-of-aiadmk/

The courts have indicated that they are serious about it. But, as Vikatan pointed out, Tamil Nadu’s officialdom isn’t.

Operative excerpts from a recent report in The Times of India:

The first bench of Madras High Court comprising Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice R Mahadevan said the court had three options available before it. One, it could direct the CBI to take over the investigation as sought by a public interest litigation. Two, it could ask Tamil Nadu government’s Crime Branch- Criminal Investigation Department (CB-CID) to conduct a probe. Three, the existing probe could be continued.

A decision on the matter will be taken once the state government gives a composite picture of the issue, the Bench said.

The case relates to indiscriminate granite mining in Madurai district, causing mountains to disappear in the region.

The government had ordered a probe, even as the high court entertained a Public Interest Litigation. It appointed Sagayam as a court commissioner to probe further and file a report. The officer prepared an exhaustive dossier and arrived at a figure of Rs 1.1 lakh crore as loss the actual loss to the government.

Advocate-general of Tamil Nadu AL Somayaji said the government had sought reports and inputs from various departments vis-à-vis the scam report compiled by Sagayam.

Did anyone question Somayaji as to why the report is yet to be submitted as the above matter was last heard in June 2016?

The answer is NO.

The list of accused – if the matter is ever excavated fully – could include a galaxy of VVIPs comprising former Chief Minister M Karunanidhi, his grandson through ex-Union Minister MK Alagiri, serving and retired Director Generals of Police…to name just a few. 

It would also encompass the hushing up of a triple-murder case!

Estranged from his father and DMK boss, Alagiri continues to be in political wilderness.

In 2014, the Supreme Court ordered the acquittal of 4 persons charged with a triple murder and asked the Central Bureau of Investigation to probe its various aspects. It has to do with the triple murder of Dr Saravanan, his wife and servant maid. This man had institutionalised corruption and money laundering in the granite trade. 

Link: http://tsvhari.com/template_article.asp?id=453

The matter continues to gather dust 8 years after his painful death!

Operative excerpts from the relevant 2014 report:

The Supreme Court upheld the verdict of the Madras high court for a CBI inquiry into the murder of former Tamil Nadu Minerals Corporation (TAMIN) chairman S Saravanan, his wife and their maid in November 2008.

A two-member bench, comprising Justice J Chelameswar and Justice A K Sikri confirmed the Madras High Court’s order for reinvestigation by the CBI.

The judges also asked the CBI to investigate the matter afresh by questioning people other than those already examined.

The Madras high court on October 4, 2013, set aside the trial court order convicting four people for the triple murder and ordered their release on conditional bail.

Earlier, a fast-track court had sentenced the four accused to life imprisonment.

TAMIN former managing director S Saravanan, 74, his wife Kasthuri, 71 and maid Anbarasi, 18, were found murdered in their house on 18th Avenue, Ashok Nagar on November 19, 2008.

The murders sent shock waves across the city, and police remained clueless till April 13, 2010, when they arrested cab drivers Mohammed Yasin, 24, S Udhaya Kumar, 23, and N Mohandoss, 43, and Mohandoss’ wife M Sathyabama, 34.

On October 22, 2010, fast-track court judge G Savithri found all of them guilty of murder and sentenced them to life imprisonment. The prime accused, taxi driver Sathish Kumar, 24, committed suicide a few days before the others were nabbed.

The CBI has done a fat lot of nothing in this matter!

The latest piece of cover-up:

According to a press statement issued by the Enforcement Directorate on December 23 2016, property worth Rs.44 crores – in connection with the money laundering probe in the Madurai Granite Scam was attached, bringing the total amount to Rs.572 crores.

A few companies linked to one PRP Granites were named. When compared to the extent of the loot, this amount is piffle.

Operative excerpts:

The Enforcement Directorate  issued a fresh attachment order worth Rs 44 crore in connection with its money laundering probe in the Madurai granite scam case in Tamil Nadu. The agency, in a statement, said it has “provisionally attached” properties worth Rs 44 crores of Ms Aiswariya Rock Exports Madurai and others under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). The agency had similarly attached assets worth Rs 528 crore in the same probe case few days back. It booked a criminal case of money laundering in the latest case against two people and their firms after taking cognisance of three police FIRs.

The granite scam came to the fore after the then District Collector U Sagayam in a report in May 2012 pegged the loss to the exchequer due to illegal granite quarrying in the district at about Rs 16,000 crore.

The cover-up has been underway for a several months. It reportedly involved sections of the judiciary and the bureaucracy, reported the popular website thenewsminute.com in April 2016.

Madras High Court’s Madurai Bench proposed contempt proceedings against Melur Judicial Magistrate K.V. Mahendra Boopathy after “smelling a rat” in the way he handled illegal granite quarry cases, the judicial officer acquitted PRP Granites, a leading mining company, and another firm, but ordered criminal prosecution against former Madurai Collector Anshul Mishra and two Special Public Prosecutors for “suppressing facts.”

Boopathy was suspended in April 2016.

Link: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Madras-high-court-suspends-Melur-judicial-magistrate/articleshow/51645950.cms So how is this scandal being so systematically covered up?

The key accused are posted to vital positions from where meaningful probes can be stymied.

Anshul Mishra, who misled the court thanks to the obvious active connivance of Boopathy is sitting in New Delhi as the Private Secretary to the Minister of State of Finance, a seat from where the wings of various wings of Enforcement Directorate and Directorate of Revenue Intelligence – the very agencies that are meant to probe the scandal can be, and, obviously are, being allegedly clipped!

The state police – supposed to investigate the scandal is tight-lipped about the whole thing.

Some indications:

Su Arunachalam, Joint Director CBI [south] was to supposed to reopen the triple murder probe. But, he had said that he could not do so, as the state government’s police force had preferred an appeal against the High Court verdict in the Apex Court.

That was in 2013.

Since then, the CBI is twiddling its thumbs in this matter. It is no wonder – as Arunachalam belongs to the TN cadre and would like to revert back to state service! The relevant press report published in The Hindu [http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/denied-extension-cbi-officer-to-rejoin-parent-cadre/article8177094.ece] dated February 1 2016 reveals the secret!

One of the acquaintances of this scribe, Balakrishnan, IPS was the superintendent of police in Madurai when PR Palanisamy was arrested. Also known as ‘Balky’ to friends, he is currently, Deputy Commissioner, Mylapore, in south Chennai. His area of jurisdiction covers one of the residences of Karunanidhi.

I was flown to Madurai – to help prepare the initial remand report in August 2012.

“The scandal is worth Rs.17,000 crores, I believe,” Balky had said. I had refuted it and pointed out that it could be in excess of Rs.20 lakh crores.

“That is a far-fetched figure and unbelievable,” Balky had retorted. 

I orally explained how the crimes were committed. 

Thereupon, Additional Superintendent of Police Mayil Vaganan opined that if the allegation was true, getting the evidence was impossible.

I enjoyed providing the police with the evidence within the next few minutes – most of which were available on the internet! A phalanx of cops- nearly 40 of them was – to put it very, very mildly, flummoxed.

“You have opened our eyes to a huge scandal. We will keep in regular touch in this case. You must help us nail the guilty,” Balky said before I flew back to Chennai.

Balky stopped taking my calls from then on till he handled the case.

One of the persons involved in the granite scandal is Durai Dayanidhi [a.k.a. DD], son of MK Alagiri. He was never arrested. Police pretended to raid his offices.

DD got bail, soon afterwards.

Operative excerpts from a report published in December 2012:

After being on the run for four months in an alleged illegal granite quarrying scam, Union Minister M K Alagiri’s son Durai Dayanidhi surrendered before a court at nearby Melur, four days after he was granted anticipatory bail by the High Court.

Accompanied by a battery of advocates and DMK workers, he paid a personal security of Rs 10,000, while two persons stood as personal surety, at the court of Judicial Magistrate Jaykumar.

The court directed him to appear daily from tomorrow until further orders before Keezhavalavur Police station near Melur, which had registered cases against him under various IPC sections, including 120(b) (criminal conspiracy), 447 (criminal trespass) and 420 (cheating), for allegedly quarrying illegally on government land.

Dayanidhi and 14 others got bail in the multi-crore granite quarrying scam, in which owners of various granite firms, including Olympus Granites in which he is a partner, had been named as accused.

Before long, DD was almost free as air, indicated a report published in The Hindu in April 2013.

The case against the granite robbers did not move an inch during the rest of the tenure of Balky till he was transferred to Chennai in February 2014.

Balky has earned his collar ribbons and is scheduled to be elevated to the post of Deputy Inspector General of Police in January 2017.

During recent personal interactions with Balky, the granite subject came up.

“Since transfer from Madurai, I have not even looked at the case. We officers are clear of one thing. Once a transfer becomes effective, the old cases are meant to be handled only by the successor,” Balky said.

To jog one’s memory, here is the relevant paragraph concerning the granite scandal – the ruling by the Madras High Court in June 2016:

The first bench of Madras High Court comprising Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice R Mahadevan said the court had three options available before it. One, it could direct the CBI to take over the investigation as sought by a public interest litigation. Two, it could ask Tamil Nadu government’s Crime Branch- Criminal Investigation Department (CB-CID) to conduct a probe. Three, the existing probe could be continued.

Obviously, regardless of which agency is finally asked to investigate, nothing may come of it.

Senior police officers in Tamil Nadu are unique.

Here are a few names with inbuilt links to explain their ingenuity:

K Ramanujam, former DGP

Letika Saran former DGP

Jugal Kishore Tripathy, currently serving officer in the rank of Additional Director General of Police

Opinion is divided about Tripathy. Journalists who fawn upon him call him Jalad [speedy]. Some not so charitably disposed, alter that spelling and term him Jallaad [hangman]. There are others who corrupt his name and term him ‘Saripathy’ [50%].

Periaiah, serving Inspector General of Police

Simply put, some Rs.20 lakh crores are out there – robbed from the people of Tamil Nadu – stashed and in conditions conducive for political mischief.

The trillion dollar question: How much of it is being used through the good offices of PRP whose connections snake into the living rooms of ruling AIADMK and the main opposition DMK bigwigs?

Tailpiece:

Recently, I was staying in a lodge in Teynampet, Chennai. I needed medical attention due to a leg injury. So, I pleaded for some time for paying the bills to the lodge.

Balky phoned DCP Saravanan of T’ Nagar, who in turn asked inspector Giri of Teynampet PS to ask the lodge owners – who run a restaurant and inn under the name and style of RSN to ‘help the elderly journalist out.’

A 3-day delay happened due to the vagaries of health. The journalist had left his luggage behind.

The lodge owners managed to register a complaint in Teynampet PS. Under the orders and knowledge of the same Giri, the luggage was ‘seized’. The lodge owner – one Kumaravel – threatened to detain this scribe, get him [poor old me] arrested and so on – by phone. When the scribe turned up to pay the dues, despite his ‘busy schedule’ Giri turned up, spent an hour in the lodge and asked Kumaravel some 7 times – you have a video recording of the seizure? Is everything being returned properly?

Kumaravel answered in the affirmative.

“We had to take preventive action against you, Mr. Hari, as we did not want something untoward to happen,” Giri said.

“You must have registered a case, maintained a case diary and recorded the seizure. You knew who I was and I am. What danger did I pose? And hence, what was the preventive action all about? Did I commit a crime?”

Giri had no answers to my questions. He simply walked away!

Since 2010, this scribe has been suffering at the hands of the same TN police. And which were the most important stations involved? Well, they are: Teynampet and Mylapore!

Why would anyone want to be a journalist in India and especially in Tamil Nadu?

உளவுகாத்த கிளி – 11

The latest chapter from my international spy thriller penned in Tamil.

ஹேர்ட்ஸ் கார் வாடகைக் கம்பெனி – உள்ளூரிலிருந்தோ, வெளி நாடுகளிலிருந்தோ 4-சக்கிர சொகுசு வண்டி ஓட்டத் தெரிந்த பெரிய மனிதர்களுக்கு வாடகைக்குக் கொடுக்கிறது. இந்தியாவில் பல்வேறு லைஸன்ஸ் சிக்கல்கள் காரணமாக, அது போன்ற பல அமைப்புக்கள் வெவ்வேறு பெயர்களில் அதே பணியை –பல்வேறு வியாபார யுக்திகளுடன் செய்கின்றன. சுருக்கமாகச் சொன்னால் எல்லாமே டாக்ஸிகள்.

மற்ற அத்தியாயங்களுக்கு இங்கே க்ளிக் செய்யவும்!

இதில் ஊபர், ஓலா, ஃபாஸ்ட் டிராக் எனப் பல வகைகள் உண்டு. இவை எல்லாமே ஓட்டுனர்களுடன் வண்டிகளை ஒப்புக்கொண்ட வாடகைக்கு அனுப்புவதாகச் சொன்னாலும், இறுதி நேரத்தில், பேரம் படியவில்லை எனத் தோன்றினால், பின்வாங்கும், அல்லது அதிகக் கட்டணம் வசூலிக்கும் பழக்கம் கொண்டவை.

மத்திய மாநில அரசுகளின் சட்டப்படி டாக்ஸிக்களுக்கான லைஸன்ஸ் பெற சில விதிமுறைகள் உண்டு. வண்டிகள் ஒரு சில நிறங்களில், சட்டப்படி ஒழுங்கு சர்டிஃபிக்கேட் பெற்ற, அரசாங்க முத்திரை/சீல் வைக்கப்பட்ட மீட்டர்கள் பொருத்தப்பட்டு, காவல்துறையின் குற்றவாளிகள் பட்டியலில் என்றுமே சிக்கி இராத ஓட்டுனர்களை பணியமர்த்திச் செயல்பட வேண்டும் என்பவை எல்லாம் ஏடுகளில் அச்சிடப்பட்டுள்ள சுரைக்காய்த் தனமான விஷயங்கள். நடைமுறை கறிக்கு என்றுமே இதில் எதுவுமே ஒவ்வாதவை.

அதுபோன்ற ஒரு கம்பெனியை எங்களது அமைப்பும் சத்தம்போடாமல் நடத்துவதாக நடிக்கிறது. என்போன்றவர்கள் எந்த ஊரில் பணி புரிந்தாலும், அந்த ஊரின் நம்பர் ப்ளேட்டுடன் எல்லா விதத்திலும் ஒழுங்கான வண்டிகளை வாடகைக்கு அளிக்கிறது. அந்த வாடகை எங்களது சம்பளத்திலிருந்து பிடிப்டும். தற்போதைய எனது நிலை போல, எந்த ருசுவையும் விட்டுச் செல்லாமல் வெளியேறுகிற நிர்ப்பந்தம் ஏற்படும்போதெல்லாம், அங்கி அணிந்த ஒருவர் வண்டியைப் பேற்றுக் கொண்டு, முன்பே தயாரக வைக்கப்பட்டிருக்கும் ஒரு காக்கி நிற கவரில் ரூ.50,000 ரொக்கம்,  ரூ.1.5 லட்சம் லிமிட் உள்ள கடன் அட்டை, ஒரு ஒழுங்கான – ஆனால் புனைப்பெயரிலுள்ள ஒரு பாஸ்போர்ட் ஆகியவற்றை அளித்து விடுவார். சந்திக்கும் இடம் இரயிலடியாகவோ, ஹோட்டலாகவோ, விமான நிலையமாகவோ, துறைமுக வாயிலாகவோ இருக்கலாம். அப்படி வருபவர் பொதுவாக விமான நிலையத்தில் சொல்லப்படும் வழியனுப்பும் க்ரீட்டிங்ஸ் வார்த்தையைச் சொல்லிவிட்டுச் செல்வார். “ஹாப்பி லான்டிங்க்ஸ்” என்றால் செல்லவேண்டிய இடம் மும்பை. ஹாப்பி லான்டிங்க்ஸ் ஸர், என்றால் புது டெல்லிக்கு டிக்கட் வாங்கிப் பயணிக்கவும் என்று பொருள். இப்படி கொல்கொத்தா, பெங்களூர், ஹைதராபாத், புணே, கோவை, அஹமதாபாத் – என வெவ்வேறு ஊருகளுக்கு வெவ்வேறு சொற்றொடர்கள்.

ஓட்டுனர் அங்கி அணின்து வருபவருக்கு சொற்றொடரின் பொருள் தெரியாது. பெரும்பாலும், அவர்கள் தொழில் கற்கும் கத்துக்குட்டிகள். பிற்காலத்தில் தேர்வு செய்யப்பட்டால், என்போன்ற உத்தியோகஸ்தர்களாகலாம். என்னை வழியனுப்ப வந்தவர் கவரை அளித்து “ஹாவ் ஏ ப்ளஸன்ட் ஃப்ளைட், மை ஃப்ரென்ட்,” என்றார்.

நான் சென்று இறங்க வேண்டியது கொல்கொத்தா என நான் புரிந்து கொண்டேன். வந்தவர், திரும்பிப் பார்க்காமல் வண்டியை எடுத்துக்கொண்டு சென்றுவிட்டார்.

கடன் அட்டையைப் பயன்படுத்தி எனக்களிக்கப்பட்டிருந்த பாஸ்போர்டிலுள்ள பெயரில் டிக்கட் வாங்கினேன். குறிப்பறிந்த எனது சகாக்கள் புதிய ரூ.2000, ரூ.500 மற்றும் ரூ. 100 தாள்களை உள்ளே வைத்திருந்தார்கள். கவரை ஜேப்பினுள் சொருகிக்கொண்டேன், கேட் எண் 8 என அறிவிக்கும் போர்டிங் பாஸை சட்டைப்பையில் சொருகிக் கொண்டேன். விமானம் புறப்பட இன்னும் 90 நிமிடங்கள், என்றாள் விமானக் கம்பெனியில் பணிபுரிந்த அழகான பெண்.

“லக்கேஜே இல்லாம போறீங்களே?” சாதாரணமான ஒரு கேள்வியைக் கேட்டாள்.

“பல ஊர்களில் தங்க எனது அலுவலகம் இடம் அளித்துள்ளது. அங்கெல்லாம், துவைத்து, இஸ்த்ரிப்பண்ணின உடைகளும், எனக்குப் பிடித்தமான உணவும் ரெடியாக இருக்கும். வழியில் படிக்க ஏதேனும் புக் வாங்கிச் செல்வேன். உன்னைப்போல யாராவது என்னுடன் பயணிக்கத் தயாரானால், தள்ளிக்கொண்டு செல்லும் பழக்கமுண்டு. உன் வசதி எப்படி?” என்று குறும்பாகச் சிரித்தபடி கேட்டேன்.

“இன்றைக்கு இரவு மேரேஜ் ப்ரொபோஸ் பண்ணற பாய்ஃப்ரெண்டோட எனக்கு டின்னர். 7 மாசம் முன்ன உங்கள சந்திச்சிருந்தா இப்படி ஏதாவது யோசிச்சு இருக்கலாம். ஐ ஆம் கோயிங் ஸ்ட்ராங் வித் மை வுட் பீ. ஹிஸ் நேம் ஈஸ் ராஹுல். ஹி ஈஸ் அ வெரி அண்டர்ஸ்டான்டிங் மேன், அன்ட் வெரி ஹான்ட்ஸம் டூ!” என்று தனது வருங்காலக் கணவரைப் பற்றிப் புகழ்ந்தாள்.

“ஓ கே என்றால் – இங்கே ட்யூடி ஃப்ரீ ஷாப்ல ஒரு பாட்டில் ஷாம்பெயின் வாங்கித் தரவா? நீ உன் பாய்ஃப்ரென்டோட ஸெலிப்ரேட் பண்ண வசதியா இருக்கும்,” என்றேன், ஒரு கண்ணை மட்டும் சிமிட்டி.

“வேண்டாங்க! அவர் ரொம்பப் பொஸஸ்ஸிவ். கொஞ்சம் சந்தேகப்பிராணி. அதுக்கு என் மேல உள்ள காதல் தான் காரணம். தவிர, நாங்க ரெண்டுபேருமே வெள்ளை ரம்மைத் தவிர வேற எந்த மதுவையும் தொடறதில்லை.”

எனக்களிக்கப்படிருந்த பாஸ்போர்டில் எனது பெயர் மதுக்கர் விஷ்ணு என்பது நினைவுக்கு வந்தது.

“என் முதல் பெயர் விஷ்ணு என்றாலும், குடும்பப்பெயரான மதுக்கர் ங்கற பெயரை சுருக்கி எல்லா நண்பர்களும் நண்பிகளும் “மது” ன்னு தான் கூப்பிடுவாங்க. என்றைக்காவது என் கூட டைம் ஸ்பென்ட் பண்ணினா, மெதுவா, மிருதுவா மாதுக்களத் தொட்டு, மதுவை விட அதிக போதையை ஏற்படுத்தற கவிதைகளை பெட்ரூம்ல ஸ்ருதியூட பாடுவான் இந்த மது,!” மீண்டும் ஒற்றைக் கண்ணைச் சிமிட்டி, டாடா சொல்லிவிட்டு நகர்ந்தேன். அவளது கலகல சிரிப்பு என் காதுகளுக்குக் கொஞ்சம் கிளுகிளுப்பை ஊட்டியது.

பாதுகாப்பு சோதனையை முடித்து உள்ளே சென்றேன்.

இடது புறம் சுவர் ஓரத்தில் பல தர உணவுகளுள்ள ரெஸ்டர்ன்ட்களும், அவற்றின் ஓரத்தில் புகை பிடிக்க ஒரே ஒரு சின்ன அறையும் உண்டு.

ஒரு காகிதக் கோப்பயில் டிக்ரி காப்பியை வாங்கி, புகைக்கும் அறைக்கு வெளியே உள்ள சிகரெட் கடையில் க்ளாஸிக் மைல்ட்ஸ் ஒரு பாக்கெட்டை வாங்கி, உள்ளே சென்றேன். அங்கு ஒரே ஒரு சுமார் 50 வயது மதிக்கத்தக்க வெள்ளைக்காரர் – வெள்ளை நிற உயர் ரக காதியில் தைக்கப்பட்ட, மறைந்த பிரதமர் ராஜீவ் காந்திக்குப் பிடித்தமான யூனிஃபார்ம் என அழைக்கப்பட்ட ஜிப்பா-பைஜாமா உடையில் புகைத்துக் கொண்டிருந்தார். மேஜைமீது என்னிடமுள்ளது போன்ற க்ளாஸிக் மைல்ட்ஸ்.

சுவற்றில் மாட்டப்பட்டிருக்கும் நெருப்பளிக்கும் மின்சார இயந்திரத்தை நோக்கி நகரும் என்னைத் தடுத்து, தங்கத்தில் செய்யப்பட்ட கார்ட்டியர் லைட்டரைத் தட்டி சிறு ஜ்வாலையை – நான் புகைக்க அளித்து உதவினார்.

“தைரியமா தங்க லைட்டரோட ட்ராவல் பண்ணறீங்க? இங்க உள்ள காவல்துறையினர் பிடிங்கிட்டா பெரிய நஷ்டமாயிடுமே!”

“மாட்டிக்காம இருக்க ஒரு ஸிம்பிளான நல்ல வழி இருக்கு. ஸாக்ஸுக்குள்ள, பாதத்துக்குக் கீழ லைட்டரை வெச்சு, ஷூவை மாட்டிக்குவேன். எங்க தேடினாலும் கிடைக்கது. ஷூவுல மெட்டல் பக்கிள்ஸ் இருக்கு. கண்டே பிடிக்கமாட்டாங்க. இட் வர்க்ஸ் எவரி டைம்,” என்றார்.

விமான நிலையப் பாதுகாப்பு முறையில் “பா” கூட அறியாத அப்பாவி ஸி ஐ எஸ் எஃப் வீரர்களை நினைத்து நகைத்தேன்.

“ஸ்மோக்கர்ஸ் ஆஃப் தி வர்ல்ட், யுனைட்!” என்றார் வெள்ளைக்காரர்.

பல தசாப்தங்களுக்கு முன், “ஸ்மோக்கர்ஸ்” என்ற சொல்லுக்கு பதிலாக “வர்கர்ஸ்” [உழைப்பளிகள்] என்ற சொல்லுடன் லெனின் சொன்ன சொற்றொடர் உலகப் பிரசித்தி பெற்றது.

அவரது கையில் தலையணை சைஸில் ஒரு பெரிய புத்தம். வலது கால் அருகில், கார் நீல நிறத்தில் ஒரு கனமான வுயிட்டான் சூட்கேஸ்.

“உங்க புதுமொழியை ஒரு காலத்துல லெனின் உழைப்பாளிகளை ஒற்றுமைப்படுத்தற நோக்கத்துல சொன்னார்னு நினைவு. கம்யூனிஸம் உங்களுக்குப் பிடிக்குமோ?” என வினா எழுப்பினேன்.

“தனக்கு லாபத்தை ஏற்படுத்தித் தர்ற, ‘வர்க்கர்ஸுக்கு, உழைப்புக்கேத்த ஒழுங்கான சம்பளத்தை, முதல் தேதி தவறாம குடுக்கற எல்லா “நல்ல தொழிலதிபர்களை’ சில பேராசை பிடிச்ச பைத்தியக்கார வியாபாரிங்க, ‘தொழிலைக் கெடுக்க வந்த புதிய கம்யூனிஸ முதலாளிகள்னு’ வெய்யறாங்க. வர்க்கர்ஸை அதிகமாப் பிழிஞ்சு எடுக்கற பழக்கத்தைச் செய்யற நாடு சீனா தான். அது ஒரு முழு முதலாளித்துவக் கொள்கையைப் பின்பத்தற பித்தலாட்டக் கம்யூனிஸ நாடு. இது என்னோட கண்டுபிடிப்பில்ல. எங்க கம்பெனியோட சேர்மன் ஸர் கம்மிங்ஸ் மான்ஸ்ஃபீல்டு சொன்ன பொன்மொழி,” என்றார் அந்த மனிதர்.

“உங்க கம்பெனி என்ன தயாரிக்குது?”

“நல்ல வியாபாரப் பழக்கங்களைத் தயாரிக்குது. உலக அரசியலும் சரி, அரசியலை அரைத்து அழிக்கும் பயங்கரவாதிகளும் சரி, ஒரே மாதிரியான செயல்முறையைத் தான் கையாளறாங்க. பயங்கரவாதம் உருவாகி வளர இது ஒரு முக்கிய காரணம். ஒரு விதத்துல சொன்னா, இந்த மனப்பான்மை தான் பயங்கரவாதத்துக்கான ஊற்றுக்கண். அதை வற்ற வைக்கணும்னா, நல்ல, நாணயமான, ஆனா லாபம் சம்பாதிக்க உபயோகமான வியாபரப் பழக்கங்கள உலகத்துல எல்லா பெரிய தொழிலதிபர்களும் கத்துக்கணும். அப்படியானவர்களை உருவாக்கி அவங்க வியாபாரத்தை வளரச் செய்யற ஸ்தாபனத்துல தான் நான் வேலை செய்யறேன். எங்க கம்பெனி பெயர் யூ ஜி ஐ ஐ – யூனிவர்ஸல் ஜெனரேட்டர்ஸ் ஆஃப் இண்டெலிஜன்ஸ் இன்கார்ப்பரேட்டட். எங்க ஐடியாவைக் காப்பி அடிச்சு இந்தியாவுல கூட ஒரு அமைப்பு இருக்கறதாகக் கேள்விப்பட்டேன்.”

“இந்தியக் கம்பெனியின் பெயரென்ன? அது உங்களப்பார்த்து சட்ட விரோதமா காப்பி அடிச்சுதுன்னா அதும்மேல ஆக்ஷன் எடுக்க வேண்டியது தானே!”

“அதெல்லாம் முடியாது, நண்பரே. அந்தக் கம்பெனி எங்க பெயரோட இனிஷியல்ஸை தலைகீழா வெச்சிருக்காம். அதாவது ஐ ஐ ஜி யு.”

எனக்குத் தூக்கி வாரிப்போட்டது.

“பல நல்ல காரியங்களைச் செய்யற ஐ ஐ ஜி யூ வை  நாங்க ஏன் டிஸ்டர்ப் பண்ணணும்? தவிர அது மாதிரி எதுவும் செய்யறது கஷ்டமான காரியம். ஏன்னா, அதை நடத்தறது இந்திய உளவுத்துறைன்னு நான் கேள்விப்பட்டேன்,” என்றார் அவர்.

எனது ஸப்த நாடிகளும் ஒரே நேரத்தில் ஒடுங்கின.

-தொடரும்

AIADMK’s new ‘step mother’ boss Sasikala will trigger TN’s political chaos?

Will the ruling AIADMK’s new ‘step-mother-general secretary’ Sasikala succeed in triggering the end of Dravidian brand of politics in Tamil Nadu?

’THE IMPENDING POLITICAL CHAOS IN TAMIL NADU SEEMS INEVITABLE. THE STATE HAS NO WORTHWHILE LEADER TO REIN IN THE GANG OF GREEDY SELF-SEEKERS WHOSE AVARICE HAS DETACHED THEM FROM THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE.

THE SITUATION IS COMPARABLE TO THAT PREVAILING IN PARLIAMENT. SO-CALLED PEOPLE’S REPRESENTATIVES IN THE OPPOSITION BENCHES ARE YELLING BLUE MURDER AGAINST DEMONETISATION AND THREATENING THE ONSET OF A REVOLUTION IN INDIA. THERE IS NO SIGN OF IT AMONG THE MASSES..

LIKEWISE, THE SO-CALLED ELECTED AIADMK LEGISLATORS ARE HAILING SASIKALA. THE PEOPLE OF TAMIL NADU SEEM TO HAVE OTHER THOUGHTS.

Why does the ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam top brass want a step mother – the English rendering of the Tamil term Chinnammaa a.k.a. VK Sasikala – to head it?

How should one view the unusual set of events wherein sand-mining-buccaneer Sekar Reddy, a close confidante of recently ‘elected’ Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu O Panneerselvam [OPS] within 24 hours by income tax sleuths?

Is there a hidden meaning in the raids yielding hundreds of crores of black money and dozens of kilograms of gold in bar form in Sekar Reddy’s residence?

Do the above incidents convey a sinister meaning when juxtaposed with OPS beseeching a political nonentity – Sasikala Natarajan – to be the General Secretary of Tamil Nadu’s ruling party?

Why should several persons banished from her household and party by Jayalalithaa in 2011 suddenly acquire VVIP status – even before she was laid to rest?

Which set of events emboldened the recently jailed and bailed husband of Sasikala – Natarajan to publicly rub shoulders with the likes of Rahul Gandhi – during Jaya’s funeral?

Will Tamil Nadu be rid of the ‘Dravidian’ tag in its political scheme post Jaya?

Why is a section of Indian paid media according importance to a fading 47-year-old actress Gautami Tadimalla and an allegedly estranged niece Deepa? Whatever be the responses to their questions about the mystery surrounding the last days of Jayalalithaa , they will prove to be of no consequence at all in the swamp called TN politics! So why do that at all?

The logical answers to the above could reveal the murkiness of the impending political chaos in the hitherto peaceful state – Tamil Nadu. The ensuing anarchy may match the shameless jungle-raj prevalent in the north Indian cow-belt state of Bihar.

Behind those are two human denominators – India’s wiliest nonagenarian politician – Muthuvelar Karunanidhi and Dr Subramanian Swamy who are playing the latest political poker game in Tamil Nadu.

The duo is seemingly, diametrically opposed to each other politically. Yet, links between them and others raise Cain. They include: Apollo Hospital decision-makers, their connections with the telecom scandal connected to the Maran brothers, the friendship between the terrible-trio God-man Chandraswami-Pratap Reddy-Dr Swamy and the commercial umbilical cord between P Chidambaram’s daughter-in-law Srinidhi and the Apollo Hospital Group.

The pointers

Since 2012, it is public knowledge that Karunanidhi controls Jaya and the state government through his reported moll in the late CM’s household Sasikala.

It was Dr Swamy who sued Jaya for possessing assets disproportionate to her known sources of income in 1996. The DMK took over the case. In the next parliamentary elections, Dr Swamy won from Madurai and went to Lok Sabha with support from the AIADMK! Meanwhile, Jaya’s demise has not exonerated her aide and alter ego – Sasikala by the courts in the matter concerning disproportionate assets.

To divert public attention from the vital parts of Tamil Nadu’s deceitful political drama, baseless rumours are being floated about the last days of Jaya in hospital.

One of them is that Jaya was brought in dead to Apollo Hospital 75 days before the final press release that pronounced her passing. The following are the obvious reasons:

        One of the persons who treated Jaya is Dr Richard John Beale of United Kingdom. A television channel has some footage of the treatment. Why should a doctor based in UK agree to pretend treating a dead woman?

        On October 26 2016, Dr Swamy, an avowed political adversary of Jayalalithaa tweeted that she had miraculously recovered. Why should someone at that level play a part in such an alleged charade?

However, there are a few hitherto unexplained ingredients in this political soap opera:

        On November 4 2016, Apollo Chairman PC Reddy said that Jayalalithaa had “completely recovered” and that it was up to her to decide when to go home.

        On December 4 2016, doctors from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences said Jaya had recovered completely.

        Within hours of this statement, the tidings of Jaya having suffered a cardiac arrest surfaced.

        On December 5 2016, around 4 p.m. television channels reported that Jaya had passed away and then ran a series of retractions on the basis of retraction statement issued by Apollo.

        The final bulletin that Jaya had passed away at 23-30 hours was issued a little after midnight.

Here is a minor check-list of VVIPs who visited Apollo Hospital but were not permitted to see Jaya:

October 7 2016 – Congress VP Rahul Gandhi

October 12 2016 – Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and BJP President Amit Shah

The flip-flop over the death announcement and her life-long friend Cho being shifted to the ICCU – the same room as Jaya – around 4 pm – when none other than Jaya’s doctors were permitted to be in the same room raised several questions about the timing of the final press release about her death.

A logical ‘final diagnosis’ of a fatal political illness

        Jayalalithaa being alive and her continuing illness was to the advantage of Sasikala.

Sasikala is believed to have attempted to get the AIADMK legislators to declare her as the “accepted” political heir-CM from within the precincts of Apollo Hospital. The fulcrum of the plan was to make the development look like a decision by Jaya from her death bed later, sources said. AIADMK legislators had gathered at the Apollo Hospitals for this very purpose, reports averred. The idea was reportedly shot down by Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Muppavarapu Venkaiah Naidu, according to a senior journalist in Chennai, who wishes anonymity. Informed BJP sources said that the pliant OPS could be of more use to the ruling party at the centre to aid its growth in Tamil Nadu and not an ambitious Sasikala and her even more ambitious husband – Natarajan.

        An “arrangement” of sorts  was reportedly reached between Sasikala and OPS later that led to the latter being sworn in after midnight.

        Second guessing the BJP intentions – Sasikala and her Mannargudi Mafia allegedly decided to hit OPS – through his closest confidante Sekar Reddy through income tax raids – using the good offices of Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, informed sources allege. Political observers in TN pointed out that it was a signal to all the AIADMK legislators to support the candidature of Sasikala as the all powerful General Secretary of AIADMK and the de facto CM.

        To rub it in, OPS was himself made to support Sasikala’s elevation as the party GS.

        The only logical explanation to these is one issue – the yet to be resolved matter pending in the Supreme Court – concerning the disproportionate assets – in which Sasikala continues to be a defendant.

That the AIADMK legislators and ministers are only interested in safeguarding their current positions is evident from one event. Unlike the drama that took place when Jaya was in hospital – when all of the ministers shed copious tears while being sworn in – none wept while being sworn in even as Jaya’s body was being prepared to lie in state at Rajaji Hall.

THE IMPENDING POLITICAL CHAOS IN TAMIL NADU IS INEVITABLE. THE STATE HAS NO WORTHWHILE LEADER TO REIN IN THE GANG OF GREEDY SELF-SEEKERS WHOSE AVARICE HAS DETACHED THEM FROM THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE.

At the age of 94, former CM Karunanidhi is “imprisoned” on a sick bed and/or a wheel-chair and is also the sole ‘cementing factor’ within the main opposition Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam – led opposition.

Those controlling Karunanidhi’s movements include the ‘declared’ political heir and Leader of Opposition – MK Stalin, his challenger elder sibling MK Alagiri, litterateur daughter Kanimozhi, the cash rich Maran brothers and a hapless old guard with nowhere to go. All of them have fought a few of the others in recent times in their yen to don the political mantle of the party patriarch.

And then there is the 2G Spectrum Damocles’ Sword hanging over the heads of all the dramatis personae in the family.

Simply stated – the DMK’s attempt to capture power immediately would prove to be a no-brainer.

The situation suits Karunanidhi as he can pull down the current AIADMK government anytime as 42 ruling party legislators are reported to have quietly pledged support to the opposition in the event of a no-confidence motion against the ruling dispensation. That is 6 more than the one-third needed for an official split in the party.

The AIADMK has 137 legislators in the 234-member assembly.

The number required to topple the AIADMK applecart is 118 – an easily achievable number if push comes to shove for the DMK. But, such an arguable victory would prove to be pyrrhic as the ruling BJP at the centre may frown at such a move. In the present scenario, Stalin could approach the BJP, but, that too could prove politically suicidal as Modi could press for the dissolution of the house and order a fresh mandate.

Recently discharged from a hospital after a brief illness, the wheel-chair-bound Karunanidhi is in no shape to campaign.

Operative excerpts from an earlier blog in these columns:

Soon after Jaya’s admission to the hospital 75 days ago, rumours had been attributed to one Tamilachchi from France saying Jaya was dead. It had reportedly led to 42 legislators establishing contact with Karunanidhi and offered ‘support’ in the likelihood of ‘extreme circumstances.’

It seemed like an attractive proposition for the DMK to topple her, but, that plan would have backfired badly if Jaya came back healthy.

Sure enough, acting Governor Vidyasagar Rao declared Jaya to be healthy.

Karunanidhi is wielding power without being in power and thus retaining the stranglehold over the warring sections of the family that holds the DMK in thrall.

What is more, Karunanidhi has succeeded in achieving what he failed to achieve in 1984 – by masterminding a rule by remote control.

Operative excerpts from an earlier blog:

October 1984 was a tumultuous month for Tamil Nadu. MGR got off his light-green car with the number 4777 under the portico of Apollo Hospitals, walked to the reception panting for breath and got admitted.

The relentless vigil began at the hospital which later announced the thespian CM had blood clot in the brain that had induced a paralytic stroke.

On November 4 1984, MGR finally was flown by a flying hospital – all the way to New York to Downstate Medical Centre – Brooklyn, from Madras.

A miracle happened in 20 days.

Despite the tennis ball sized clot, MGR shook off his paralytic stroke, sat up, began taking lessons to regain his original gait. A special video was shot to reassure the electorate in Tamil Nadu and shown in cinemas. For the second time in his life, MGR won an election from a hospital bed.

Karunanidhi had purchased the loyalty of most of MGR’s men in the cabinet by promising juicy returns. Such beneficiaries included ministers like C. Ponnaiyan [now out of political reckoning], KA Krishnaswamy [since deceased] and Muthuswamy [who joined the DMK to be made the member of the party’s high power executive committee in 2010].

MGR’s cabinet mainstays like Nedunchezhiyan and Veerappan were roped into the act along with police officials like BP Rangaswamy, IK Govind and Dorai to name just three and the then Chief Secretary Chokkalingam.

The juicy returns began with the so-called ‘telex’ orders from the United States of America where MGR was undergoing treatment.

The telex orders benefited all the cabinet ministers who went on signing files in the name of telex orders from US of A.

The plan was to create a car with a glass dome to make MGR a figurehead and parade him before the public and run the government by proxy through his cabinet being controlled from Gopalapuram.

MGR’s closest confidante – top cop K Mohandas was side-lined into an innocuous position.

Sadly for Karunanidhi, the plan backfired as MGR learnt of the perfidy, got Mohandas back as the first thing since he returned from the US of A in early 1985.

The Tamil Nadu unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party is in the same position as the DMK with one vital difference – it has no legislators in the assembly.

Informed AIADMK sources and those within the Union Finance Ministry indicate that details of Sekar Reddy’s ill-gotten stash was passed on by persons close to Sasikala to bureaucrats owing allegiance to Arun Jaitley.

It sent a chilling signal to all those entertaining hopes of jockeying themselves into positions of advantage within the AIADMK.

The move is said to have been Okayed by Karunanidhi.

AIADMK’s most visible face in Delhi – Deputy Lok Sabha Speaker Thambidurai – also has endorsed the might of AIADMK’s new ‘step mother leader’ Sasikala.

It is too early for PM Narendra Modi to interfere directly into Tamil Nadu as the state unit is beset with factions whose feuds are only comparable to various state units of the Congress.

Besides, BJP is yet to make its presence felt in the hinterland of Tamil Nadu.

Worse, it had played second fiddle to Vijaykant during the 2014 parliamentary elections and shot itself in the forehead.

The career of washed up thespian Vijaykant, the earlier Leader of Opposition and current ‘political nobody’ heading the DMDK has lesser value than a burnt out matchstick. The actor is now dubbed Vijay-can’t.

One of the parties in TN worth some mention – is the PMK [once part of central coalitions under the NDA and UPA] contested alone in the 2016 assembly polls and saw its candidates lose their deposits in 212 constituencies. The rest, comprising the left [CPI and CPI-M], actor Sarat Kumar’s AISMK, the various Dalit outfits and the factions of the Muslim Leagues can be dismissed with the term ‘flotsam and jetsam’.

The situation has led to the likes of actress Gautami Tadimalla and Jaya’s niece Deepa flinging their nonexistent hats into the political ring either by writing to the PM on the non-issue of Jaya’s last days in Apollo and/or raising Cain about the inevitable ‘election’ of Sasikala as the GS of the AIADMK. The chances of their making a mark in the state’s political gambling club are, to say the least, very, very remote.

The nothingness in the political horizon of Tamil Nadu, therefore, is clearly visible.

It is then left those who have a score to settle with Jaya – albeit posthumously.

BJP’s known political face is that of Dr Swamy. But, the chances of his winning a single seat on his own from Tamil Nadu are remote.

The Congress has its own versions of Swamy – in the form of father-son duo – former ‘recount UPA central minister’ Palaniappan Chidambaram and Karti respectively. Both are non-starters.

Holy-man Jayendra Saraswati – whose name got besmirched after the notorious Shankararaman murder case nurses a serious grievance. His ally is Dr Swamy. But, both have little say in the political affairs of TN.

Finally, there is ‘superstar’ on the wane – Rajnikant whose last release Kabali proved to be a cabal. He recently visited Karunanidhi apparently to enquire about the ailing patriarch’s health. His utterances concerning his 1996 campaign that led to the defeat of Jaya are being watched with interest in many political circles.

The late MGR, Jayalalithaa and NTR were 3 southern ex-film stars who opted for political careers when movies featuring them failed at the box office.

Vijaykant attempted the same game and lost his name and political mane.

Will Rajnikant finally decide to take the plunge?

If one goes by the number of other controversies surrounding the star – especially vast sums owed by members of his family – the going may not be smooth. But, one can never say anything with finality in such matters. The actor is said to be close to PM Modi as well.

Or will someone else emerge from what could turn out to be the political ashes of Tamil Nadu?

Good-bye Mr Cho!

My mentor in Tamil journalism, the personification of wisdom and wit, Mr. Cho S Ramaswamy passed away on the gloomy December 7 2016 morning. He was 82.

Mr Cho is survived his wife Soundara, daughter Sindhuja, son Rajeevakshan @ Sri Ram and granddaughter Sakhi.

The end came at 0405 hours in the morning at Apollo Hospital’s ICU

A huge number of VVIPs went around the glass-topped box at his south Chennai residence throughout the day as he lay in state. He was cremated in the evening.

The workaholic journalist who edited his literary offspring – Thuglak News Weekly despite being ‘imprisoned’ on a hospital bed for months, seemed to be resting.

He had addressed his readers through the opening below his neck [the ventilator hole] on January 2016 – something unheard of in the annals of any public event.

He connected with his faithful readers and never wrote against the diktat of his conscience – even if it meant gaining newer enemies and losing old friendships.

“I am only answerable to The Almighty resident in me. Sometimes God tests his devotees. In my case, he does it unerringly everyday – showing me the difference between the worldly ‘Maya’ and the Ultimate Truth. Opting for the Truth has never been a difficult decision for me. More often than not, it has proved painful, but for some strange reason, the pains are always enjoyable,” he used to say.

Mr Cho had been wheeled into the ICU of the hospital where J Jayalalithaa had undergone treatment for 75 days.

Not many know that Mr Cho had played a significant role at the start of Jaya’s political career. What is more, she had written articles in Thuglak.

Before appointing Jayalalithaa as the propaganda secretary, Jayalalithaa had called Mr. Cho on the phone and revealed the details of the olive branch extended by MGR.

“You seem to have taken the decision already at the behest of MGR. So why ask me? Surely, MGR must be somewhere near you. Give the phone to him and I will tell him my opinion,” Mr. Cho had said.

Jayalalithaa is said to have snapped the connection.

Soon MGR had called and confirmed the tidings.

Mr. Cho had approved and said, “Jayalalithaa has an axe to grind against Karunanidhi and her attacking him verbally would do wonders for the AIADMK.” That piece of advice is holding good to this day – even after the demise of both Jaya and Mr Cho.

They were friends till the ends of their existence on earth.

In more ways than one, I owe my career in Tamil journalism to Mr Cho. Excerpts from my blog dated April 23 2011:

The year was 1988.

The Hindi television serial Mahabharat on Doordarshan was doing its first run.

I had been given the job of translating its Hindi dialogues for Thuglak magazine…and shall ever remain thankful to Mr Cho S Ramaswamy for giving me that opportunity.

It opened my eyes to a two home-truths that always existed, but I had failed to notice them till then.

Parenthesis

Ever since I had become a journalist in 1977, illusions of grandeur had pumped up my ego like an oversized and therefore rotten pumpkin.

“I will be changing the world,” were the words I had told myself when my livelihood endeavour had begun in the sports department of Free Press Journal as a reporter-sub-editor and soon changed to crime and political reporting when I relocated a year later to Chennai in 1978.

It took me some 4 years to begin writing in Thuglak, as the standards set by Mr Cho were very tough.

“The name TSV Hari is appended to a left-leaning, anti-establishment troublemaker image. Can you elaborate on the letter ‘V’ in your name?”

“Venkat,” I told him.

“So why don’t you call yourself Venkat for Thuglak?”

I did. The year was 1982.

Thanks to careful editing and grooming by Mr Cho, I learnt to write passably in Tamil and was thrilled to know I had an audience who liked my dry wit and sarcasm in Tamil political reporting.

The telecast of BR Chopra’s Hindi costume drama Mahabharat changed my outlook in journalism forever.

Parenthesis ends

Some Hindi-Tamil scholar had been asked to do the translation of the Mahabharat dialogues from the original.

Mr Cho had wrestled with the translated versions and seemed to be at the end of his tether during the checking of the Tamil rendering of the second episode by some other person.

“I had decided to carry the translation, but have now begun entertaining doubts whether I made a mistake. I am not happy with the copy and finding it extremely difficult to correct the text translated from Sanskritised Hindi due to a fear of errors…Now this word…”

I noticed three dictionaries, the photocopies of the Hindi transcription that had come from Bombay and the handwritten Tamil translation spread all over his table – always big enough to play billiards on and the sheer painful tension on his face.

I facilely gave the Tamil meaning of that word.

Mr Cho suddenly looked up.

There was a glint in his look.

“Why don’t you get this corrected or better still, rewritten?”

I was a bit hesitant.

“My Tamil is awful, sir! But since my Hindi…”

“I already have survived the mortification of correcting your Tamil. But this translation may succeed in doing what your Tamil failed to do!”

Mr Cho always comes up with unexpected light comment that makes everyone in Thuglak laugh out loud and eases the tension.

I agreed to give the translation a try.

Once downstairs, I briefly read a few paragraphs of the Hindi original and the Tamil version.

The latter was virtually unreadable.

Rewriting it into passable Tamil would have been worse than rendering Salman Rushdie’s works into readable English.

I requested Mr Madalai, Mr Cho’s faithful shadow, stenographer, second-in-command, secretary and even the occasional accounts clerk-cashier rolled-into-one to help me.

“The editor probably wants the translation done quickly. The rewriting is well-nigh impossible. So could you please oblige me by typing the Tamil version as I dictate upon reading the Hindi original? That would save time and the effort to correct my Tamil howlers.”

Mr Madalai had never done that to anyone else in Thuglak office before.

“Okay,” he said a bit listlessly.

The sound of Mr Madalai typing in Tamil always reminds one of the rat-a-tats of a machine gun.

The speed has to be seen and heard to be believed.  

The rendering of 2 episodes – some 7 pages of typewritten A4 sheets with one-and-a-half spaces was over in some 20 minutes.

“Show it to the editor,” Mr Madalai said flatly.

When I did a minute later, Mr Cho spent some six more reading a few paragraphs of the stuff.

Then he summoned Mr Madalai upstairs.

“This man has been fooling us all these days by claiming to know very little Tamil…that is the impression I get upon reading this,” Mr Cho announced with a broad smile.

“I spoke in Tamil and it is Mr Madalai who rendered it into the written version seamlessly sir,” I told Mr Cho.

Mr Madalai chose to remain silent.

There was a hint of an approving crease along his lips.

“Why don’t we get the translation done by Hari?”

Not sure whether Mr Cho had asked a question, Madalai, as usual, was non-committal.

“Perhaps,” Mr Madalai offered.

He is a man of very few words but all of them always turn out to be golden.

So I began translating the epic.

Since it was done with Mr Madalai’s collaboration, I called myself the Vyasa and likened him to the transcribing Lord Ganesha.

During the next annual readers meeting of Thuglak, when Mr Cho introduced me to the readers, the applause lasted some 5 minutes.

The number of letters received by the magazine in appreciation of the Tamil rendering opened my eyes to the first home-truth.

Till then, I had presumed my political leanings and reporting was the next best thing to Einstein’s Relativity Theory.

The truth dawned on me during that period.

Good writing is welcomed by readers.

And most of them are apolitical.

Two years later, I created the Tamil version of Mahabharat in Tamil. It was telecast on Sun TV – a channel whose owners had enough reason to hate Cho.

One of the first title cards in Tamil [now visible at 1:17 in the Youtube audio-visual] is my obeisance to my preceptor – Mr Cho.

I will quote my friend for over 30 years – journalist KM Thomas on my relationship with Mr Cho:

Once I heard him comment (not sure whether you were around) that but for the impertinent loud mouth, TSV is a fine human being.

For me, Mr Cho was a father figure.

Excerpts from my blog published in 2013 after my 7th cardiac arrest:

[Since those in my family had deserted me] I telephoned my mentor in Tamil journalism, friend and now a true father figure – Mr Cho S Ramaswamy for help from the ICU of St Isabel’s Hospital in Chennai.

Within the next four minutes a sizeable sum of money reached the hospital to cover all expenses.

My friend for over 35 years – Swaminathan who is listed as the publisher on record in Thuglak – handed over the money to the elderly sister in-charge saying – if there is any further need – let us know and we will be around to help – and took leave.

After doctors discharged me after having steadied my heart and the nerves later, on the way home, I went in to Thuglak Office to thank Mr Cho.

“As the doctors suggested, go home and take rest,” Mr Cho said.

Though his comment was said in a flat voice, I could discern concern and a strange kind of fatherly affection in his voice.

“You have saved my life yet again sir,” I had said in an choked voice.

“Just go home. You will be alright,” Mr Cho said and turned towards the television to see some programme. It was a faint signal of asking me to go away.

I could feel that he was feeling sad over the turn of events as well and did not want me to get mushy in his room.

I obeyed.

Mr Madalai, the man who runs that ship as the second in command, offered more words of comfort and a sweetened it with a bit of wit.

“You go and take rest for a few days till you are completely fit. The outside world has the habit of taking care of itself without your interfering endeavour,” he said with a faint smile.

A friend for over 30 years, he clearly was pained by my sufferings.

Tailpiece:

The turn of events since then and the other day, when it dawned on me that Mr Cho will not be visiting the office again, I am left with the thought, what life is all about.

Even as Mr Cho’s body was lying in state at home, briefly, there was a discussion in Thuglak office about the way forward, after the great man.

It was the natural thing to do.

Perhaps Mr Cho had a premonition about his end. The information came from Mr Udaya, the manager in the office.

“The other day, Cho asked me whether I had marked his ‘salary’ in the account books as I do every month. I told him, I was yet to do it. With a strange suddenness, he said, ‘Don’t do it this month.’ I did not catch the importance of that statement then. Now, I do,” Udaya said.

The absence of Mr Cho in Thuglak office, where the veteran journalist had held benevolent sway – pulled at the emotional chords of my heart. Under the alibi of taking a smoke, I stepped out to wipe the tears.

Jayalalithaa’s Demise Creates A Political Conundrum in Tamil Nadu?

Undoubtedly, the passing of J Jayalalithaa has created a political vacuum in the south Indian state – Tamil Nadu.

The southern metropolis came to a standstill from 6 p.m, when news about the demise first surfaced. It is yet to return to normalcy.

How many political questions would the death of the AIADMK leader raise?

What would the answers be?

Some indications:

The demise of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa became ‘official’ at 2330 hours December 5 2016, courtesy – a terse press statement issued by Apollo Hospitals.

Denizens of Chennai had suspected that the CM would soon kick the bucket ever since Apollo Hospitals had put out the news that she had suffered a heart attack a day before.

On the fateful day, passing through Alwarpet intersection alongside Cauvery Hospital [it is very close to Poes Gardens, Jaya’s residence and that of Kanimozhi, DMK Rajya Sabha MP] where former Chief Minister M Karunanidhi was undergoing treatment, one could clearly see that the contrast was noticeably stark.

The vicinity of Apollo Hospital where Jaya was undergoing treatment, one had seen earlier, was a beehive of activity.

Outside Cauvery Hospital, except for a few lounging cops nearby, chattering on mobile phones and sipping tea there was hardly any activity worth writing home about. A Central Reserve Police Force ambulance stood close-by for whatever reason.

Around 3-o-clock in the evening, senior journalist Cho S Ramaswamy – also unwell and an in-patient at Apollo – was being shifted to the ICCU – as he too had become critical, or so the grapevine said.

One wondered as to how another person would be shifted into the ICCU when it was out of bounds for everyone as Jayalalithaa was in it. Whenever, she occupied that room, it was out of bounds for the rest of humanity.

A little bit of thinking, led to the raising of eyebrows.

“Has something bad happened to Jaya?”

Before long, news channels broke the story that Jaya was no more.

It was retracted a few minutes later by a press statement from Apollo.

The little grey cells in the brain yelled: “It is a ruse by the hospital and the state’s police machinery to disperse the crowds, fearing harm to the hospital.

“Soon, close to midnight, the announcement that she is no more would come,” one muttered under the breath.

It did.

O Panneerselvam [OPS] has been sworn in as the state’s CM.

Will there be a political turmoil in Tamil Nadu as Jaya has no political heirs?

OPS has no base – political or whatever.

The majority of AIADMK MLAs owe allegiance to Jaya’s personal aide Sasikala Natarajan. Top police sources said that roughly 90 of the 137 AIADMK legislators were “owned” by Sasikala.

Mischievous minds would remember that when MGR had died and his body had lain in state at the Rajaji Memorial Hall [where people are paying the final homage to Jaya in huge numbers at the time of writing] Jayalalithaa had positioned herself virtually next to the fez cap of the thespian’s mortal remains. Her political opponents had physically assaulted her. That gave her political career the fillip it needed. In the elections that followed, she was Leader of Opposition. During the next elections, in 1991, Jaya was in Fort St George as CM!

Will Sasikala succeed in TN politics by trying to emulate that performance, with all her important relatives in tow? Only time will tell.

The die has been cast. The “elected” Chief Minister O Panneerselvam was reduced to a stage prop by Sasikala and her relatives during the funeral. Natarajan was persona non grata at Jaya’s residence when the state’s iron lady was alive. But, upon her passing, the bespectacled man rubbed shoulders with the VVIPs during the funeral. He was one of the last few persons to place a wreath on Jaya’s coffin. Wags interpreted the deed as the hammering of nails on the career of Tamil Nadu’s late CM – who had rendered Natarajan’s life a misery during her autumn months.

Sasikala’s relatives are bound to dismiss this chronology of events as “mere coincidences”.

But, a day later, it is now apparent that a section of the ruling AIADMK is on the warpath against Sasikala – protesting against a domineering style of functioning as an extra constitutional authority.

What one can say at this point in time is that Jaya had a power of presence. She would instantly be noticed in any gathering, no matter how big the crowd. Sasikala, virtually in the perception of anyone and everyone whose  opinion matters in Tamil Nadu’s political circles, is far away from that league. There is worse.

Sasikala is believed to be Karunanidhi’s mole in Jaya’s home.[1]

Soon after Jaya’s admission to the hospital 75 days ago, rumours had been attributed to one Tamilachchi from France saying Jaya was dead. It had reportedly led to 42 legislators establishing contact with Karunanidhi and offered ‘support’ in the likelihood of ‘extreme circumstances.’

It seemed like an attractive proposition for the DMK to topple her, but, that plan would have backfired badly if Jaya came back healthy.

Sure enough, acting Governor Vidyasagar Rao declared Jaya to be healthy.

But, the nagging doubt resurfaced when OPS was given all the portfolios being handled by Jaya. It was a clear indication that all wasn’t well. Now, finally, the die has been cast.

At this point in time, it appears that the status quo ante would continue on paper – as arguably, Karunanidhi can get virtually anything and everything done through Sasikala and she would, in turn, get OPS to do her bidding. The moment OPS tries to assert himself, he would be sent packing. The earlier eternal number 2 – Nedunchezhiyan – was a good orator – at least once upon a time. I am yet to read about any noteworthy speech made by OPS.

That probably explains why Sasikala didn’t have to get ‘elected’ as the leader of the AIADMK legislature party. The whole thing adds up. Anyway, there is little to choose between the ruling AIADMK and the DMK in terms of policy differences, methods of governance and so on. AIADMK belonged to Jaya and the DMK belongs to Karunanidhi and if possible pieces of it would belong to his family after his passing. On the wrong side of 90, he isn’t getting any younger.

The rhetorical questions:

Why should Karunanidhi complicate matters within the DMK when his heir apparent Stalin is snapping at his heels? As it is, there are huge ego clashes between his elder son Alagiri and Stalin. To make matters worse, there is a section in Chennai’s intelligentsia that feels that poetess Kanimozhi alone would be a worthy successor to her litterateur father, Kalaignar. 

Wouldn’t it suit Karunanidhi to jockey himself into a position of strength and force the AIADMK to do things that would destroy the legacy of MGR and Jaya put together – so that he could have another crack at the CM’s post later?

Would this finally lead to the end of “Dravidian brand” of politics in Tamil Nadu – as Karunanidhi’s close relatives are involved in the yet to be decided telecom scam matter in the courts?

To save whatever is left for his family, would Karunanidhi opt to pitch his tent within the NDA fold and begin praising PM Narendra Modi as he had done during the tenure of AB Vajpayee? In Tamil Nadu, anything is possible.

The brouhaha witnessed in the immediate vicinity of Apollo Hospital as Jaya battled for life, was almost the same as was the case when her mentor MGR did in 1984.

Memoirs of ‘other’ days

As the south India correspondent of a Calcutta paper, I had covered the hospitalisation, triumphant return and finally the demise of the first All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam CM – Marudur Gopalamenon Ramachandran – or MGR.

October 1984 was a tumultuous month for Tamil Nadu. MGR got off his light-green car with the number 4777 under the portico of Apollo Hospitals, walked to the reception panting for breath and got admitted.

The relentless vigil began at the hospital which later announced the thespian CM had a blood clot in the brain that had induced a paralytic stroke.

Even as he had battled for life, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi visited him on October 16, 1984.

“MGR is like a brother to me and a dear friend. The Government will do everything to help him recover. I hope to see him after he becomes Chief Minister again after the elections [scheduled a few months away] as he is a great fighter. He always wins,” Indira had told journalists.

Air India had kept a 19-year-old Boeing 707 named Lhotse in readiness at Chennai’s Meenambakkam air terminal’s tarmac. A 6-member team of cabin attendants, 2 pilots and an engineer began a long wait for doctors attending on MGR to declare him fit fly from Madras – all the way to New York to the Brooklyn Hospital.

Then the delays began.

Dr Eli Friedman examined MGR and declared him unfit to travel on October 19 after the CM developed a tennis ball sized clot in the brain.

A Japanese neurosurgeon Dr Kanno flew all the way from Japan. His trip had its anxious moments, with flights delayed, missed, money shortage and so on. Finally a Boeing 747 was chartered at the cost of roughly Rs.10 lakhs to ferry Dr Kanno and his aide Dr Nakamura.

Preparations were underway and MGR began showing signs of improvement, albeit, in his coma-state.

On October 31, Indira Gandhi was assassinated and it necessitated Lhotse returning to Bombay to fly the then President Zail Singh to the National Capital Region. He had to swear in Indira’s son Rajiv Gandhi, who was in Calcutta at the time of his mother’s murder.

Rajiv kept the promise given by his mother.

On November 4 1984, MGR finally was flown by the same Lhotse – this time a flying hospital – all the way to New York.

There were other anxious moments.

Of the required oxygen cylinders, one had a bit of moisture. A replacement was found after a frantic search.

Finally when the flight took off at 2246 hours from Madras [the city was renamed Chennai much later], its first halt was Bombay. Someone realised that 707s were not allowed to land in New York due to their noise. Rajiv’s aides made the request through Washington and clearance was obtained. A snag in the plane’s radar, a broken rod of the tractor meant to pull the aircraft broke … all contributed to the mystique around MGR almost like the frenzied moments leading to a thriller movie’s pulsating climax.

In the plane, the medical team kept checking the vitals of the CM. A blood analysis was done in London and finally the bird crossed the Atlantic and landed in the airport of the city known as Big Apple.

Dr Sreepada Rao supervised the wheeling in of the CM into Brooklyn’s Downstate Medical Centre.

A miracle happened in 20 days.

Despite the tennis ball sized clot, MGR shook off his paralytic stroke, sat up, began taking lessons to regain his original gait. A special video was shot to reassure the electorate in Tamil Nadu and shown in cinemas. For the second time in his life, MGR won an election from a hospital bed. The first instance was in 1967.

Even as MGR was fighting for life in New York, the bitter infighting within the AIADMK came to the fore.

One person sidelined in the party was J Jayalalithaa.

At that point in time, she was the only paid subscriber of the paper I then worked for – Amrita Bazar Patrika.

She had invited me to do an interview at her residence in Poes Gardens. My searching queries irked her and she yelled. I had yelled back.

Some of the questions and her replies:

“Why are you being sidelined in your party?”

Answer: “Everyone else in the party after MGR and me are political pygmies. And some of them are conniving with Karunanidhi – hatching a plot to control the sure-to-win MGR government.”

“Could you name your enemies within the AIADMK?”

Answer: “There is that skunk flunkey of my leader [RM] Veerappan. There are others, like Chief Secretary Chokkalingam and BP Rangasamy in a very high police post – who are in cahoots with Karunanidhi.”

“Since you are from the film industry, why don’t you get MGR’s celluloid loyalists around you to counter this?”

Answer: “Most of them are snakes in the grass like Bhagyaraj. They call themselves as heirs of MGR’s film legacy and will ditch him at the first opportunity to meet selfish ends.”

“How would you describe your relationship with MGR?”

Answer: He is everything to me. I owe him my career in films and in politics.

“Isn’t there a personal angle?”

Answer: “This is supposed to be a decent press interview. Impertinent questions are not allowed!”

Jaya began shouting and I simply got up and had walked out of Veda Nilayam.

DMK President Karunanidhi knew that the double sympathy wave would electorally drown him. The remark by Jayalalithaa sent up a red light in my brain. Some cross-checking resulted in my discovering the sick, sinister conspiracy being hatched by Karunanidhi to remote-control MGR’s regime.

Karunanidhi networked many within the AIADMK like Veerappan, Nedunchezhiyan [the eternal number two in the cabinet], Chokkalingam and DGP BP Rangasamy.

Mohandas was transferred.

Chokkalingam was ready to stab MGR in the back as were Veerappan and others.

But those weapons were blunted. [2]

Despite MGR being confined to his hospital bed in faraway US, the alliance led by the AIADMK comprising the Congress and Gandhi Kamaraj Congress of Kumari Ananthan [father of current TN BJP chief Tamizhisai Soundararajan] won 195 out of 234 seats. The DMK had managed to bag 24 of the 176 seats it had contested. The AIADMK won 132 seats of the 155 it fought.

When MGR returned to Madras, he had invited me home. It is my fondest memory of the thespian. [3]

The contrast in the lives of MGR and Jayalalithaa after their stay in Apollo is starkly different. The thespian male returned alive, like a phoenix after a long detour – from Madras to New York and then back again. His female successor Jayalalithaa, records say, was imprisoned in Apollo. She was never allowed to meet anyone holding any constitutional authority. Her body finally emerged in a coffin.

[1]

Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam President M Karunanidhi seems to be virtually remote-controlling the movements of Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa and working out a scorched earth policy to destroy the most visible part of southern India – Tamil Nadu.

Here is how:

  1. Jayalalithaa’s aide and confidante Sasikala Natarajan who had been ignominiously expelled from the Chief Minister’s household for allegedly administering mind-controlling drugs – is back again. Sasikala’s husband Natarajan had been known for his closeness to Karunanidhi. Police sources say that it was Sasikala who had leaked the so-called resignation letter reportedly penned by Jayalalithaa during her first reign in the 90’s through those who mattered in the opposition [read Karunanidhi].
  1. Former Chennai city police commissioner T Rajendran, who hushed up the murder of Sadiq Batcha, the aide of 2G Spectrum allocation scandal infamy – Andimuthu Raja under reported instructions of Karunanidhi and who was transferred to the prisoner department immediately after the announcement of the 2011 assembly election results, came back to head the Tamil Nadu police’s intelligence wing within 48 hours! The Sadiq Batcha murder effectively plugged several leaks that could have sunk Raja’s leaky canoe.

See:

http://tsvhari.com/template_article.asp?id=252

http://tsvhari.com/template_article.asp?id=390

http://tsvhari.com/template_article.asp?id=327

Rajendran is close to Sasikala and headed the investigation wing of the State Human Rights Commission.

Jayalalithaa ensured that he never got promoted to DGP rank till he retired.

Sasikala’s relatives and clansmen controlled the Tamil Nadu Human Rights Commission that virtually is denied justice to a huge number of persons who have been wronged by the police [especially in the form of cruel actions against innocent protesters in Koodankulam who wanted the nuke power plant made by the former Soviets stopped from being commissioned].

  1. Rajendran had falsely claimed to have ‘solved’ the triple murder of Dr S Saravanan, the former boss of Tamil Nadu Minerals Ltd. He indirectly directed the investigations of the Granite export scandal. The Granite loot scandal is larger than the available figures put out by the Comptroller and Auditor General in the 2G Spectrum allocation stink – at Rs.24 lakh crores!

Details:

http://tsvhari.com/template_article.asp?id=499

  1. Jayalalithaa’s television channel Jaya TV was under the control of one Rabi Bernard. It is still reportedly controlled by Sasikala’s relatives.

The channel’s former head Income Tax honcho had quit, unable to stomach the racketeering methods of Sasikala’s kin.

Bernard was said to have been in regular touch on phone with his former flunkey Florent Pereira, who is the de facto head of – hold your breath – Kalaignar TV!  

Pereira had been in Vijay TV earlier where Bernard had served.

Pereira, according to police sources also regularly meets relatives of Sasikala.

  1. One peeved police officer explained it all:
  • What is there for the de facto head of Jaya TV discussing matters with the de facto head of Kalaignar TV and what does the de facto head of Kalaignar TV want to discuss with relatives of Sasikala if not controlling every move of Chief Minister Jayalalithaa?
  • Did Rabi Bernard not cut his teeth in the television business in Sun TV, whose GRP ratings are 1400 plus, Vijay TV where he served is 400 plus and Jaya TV – which he controls now – has ratings below 50? None of the channels he worked for did well, and managed to survive only after he left. He is supposed to be the main face for the national media in New Delhi in his role as a member of parliament … something he hasn’t done at all. Now, which role will he do better – that of a Rajya Sabha MP or the boss of a channel?
  • Its profitability had zoomed beyond a dozen crores if its unaudited annual report is to be believed – more than double what it had been for some 6 years when the retired Income Tax officer had headed it, but had given an honest journalist KP Sunil a free hand.
  • For nearly 6 years, Jaya TV had been an also ran in most aspects.
  • Its ratings had improved after the telecast of Cho Ramaswamy’s serial on Hinduism – Engey Brahmanan.
  • Since Bernard taking over, Jayalalithaa’s personal auditor a gentleman whose name starts with the letter ‘D’ was forced to scale down the profits in the balance sheet ‘during a stringent audit!’
  • It is being done, apparently to besmirch the reputation of all those who began rooting out systematic corruption in the channel in recent times.
  • The idea, the top police officer went on to say is simple but diabolic. Jaya’s only link with the people is her television channel. Making it defunct or redundant would serve one massive purpose – cutting her off from her supporters. And then Karunanidhi can hope for the best … And to do that, the plan of action is simple. He knows very well that he cannot solve the differences between his sons Stalin and Alagiri. His daughter Kanimozhi – the most acceptable face of the party is peeved with her father because she was pitchforked into the 2G Spectrum scandal through her shares in Kalaignar TV – in which – she never had any hand. Her closeness to Raja resulted in her canvassing for his ministerial position at the behest of her father … who wanted to settle scores with Sun Network that had led to the sacking of Dayanidhi Maran. After his mysterious re-entry, the critical planting of news items that damaged Kalaignar TV began including an alleged punch up with its earlier de facto boss Sarat Kumar Reddy. To help her father, the media savvy Kanimozhi interceded with Shahid Balwa – the Mumbai real estate shyster – but the money was collected from him by her half-brother Stalin who met Balwa and others in what is now Park Sheraton. For nothing at all, except her closeness to Raja, Kanimozhi became the fall gal who rotted in prison and has now adopted a low profile. When one realises that she is the brightest of the Karunanidhi offspring … one can only breathe heavily at the irony. In more ways than one, the situation of Kanimozhi is the same as that of Jayalalithaa. Both women have been let down by one too many men, back-stabbed by those in whom they placed their complete faith and finally are being controlled by a dubious personality … who answers to the name of Muthuvelar Karunanidhi!
  1. So how does Karunanidhi benefit from it all?

The past history says it all.

In 1984, when the then Chief Minister Marudur Gopalamenon Ramachandran had suffered a paralytic stroke, Karunanidhi had made a diabolic move.

Karunanidhi purchased the loyalty of most of MGR’s men in the cabinet by promising juicy returns. Such beneficiaries included ministers like C. Ponnaiyan [now out of political reckoning], KA Krishnaswamy [since deceased] and Muthuswamy [who joined the DMK to be made the member of the party’s high power executive committee in 2010].

  • MGR’s cabinet mainstays like Nedunchezhiyan and Veerappan were roped into the act along with police officials like BP Rangaswamy, IK Govind and Dorai to name just three and the then Chief Secretary Chokkalingam.
  • The juicy returns began with the so-called ‘telex’ orders from the United States of America where MGR was undergoing treatment.
  • The telex orders financially benefited all the cabinet ministers who went on signing files in the name of telex orders from US of A.
  • The plan was to create a car with a glass dome to make MGR a figurehead and parade him before the public and run the government by proxy through his cabinet being controlled from Gopalapuram.

To effect this MGR’s closest confidante – top cop K Mohandas was side-lined into an innocuous position.

Sadly for Karunanidhi, the plan backfired as MGR learnt of the perfidy, got Mohandas back as the first thing since he returned from the US of A in early 1985.

Unfortunately, Jayalalithaa lacks such an advisor today – be it in politics or be it in officialdom.

Her detractors keep blaming journalist Cho Ramaswamy and Gujarat CM Narendra Modi who never had been her confidantes or serious advisors ever.

The indecisive Ramanujam as the Director General of Police holding the post of intelligence and an ineffective George as Commissioner whose standing with the press as well as those of his men is poor, Jayalalithaa is in an ivory prison of security, operated by none other than Karunanidhi and his moll Sasikala who controls every official through the machinations of her husband Natarajan with some planning inputs by officers like Rajendran.

Karunanidhi is profiting from being in office without being in office.

He also hopes to help some outsider to hammer out a rainbow alliance to defeat Jaya in the future hoping that the political instability at the centre will help him forge other alliances with machinations of Karti, washed actors Vijaykant, Sarat Kumar and Kartik, roping in flotsam and jetsam like Thirumavalavan and/or Dr Krishnaswamy.

In everything else fails, Karunanidhi hopes to bank on revived secessionist and anti-national activity for which the DMK government was dismissed once in Tamil Nadu [in 1976, the dismissal was effected by Indira Gandhi on the basis of corruption and after which in 1980, the same DMK aligned with the dismissing authority – Indira Gandhi under the slogan welcome back Nehru’s daughter to give us a steady regime] and whose manifestations had brought down the United Front ministry at the centre down because his nephew and conscience keeper Murasoli Maran refused to step down from the Union Cabinet.

To achieve this, Karunanidhi is breathing life into the near defunct bawling bawdy politic called Tamil Eelam Supporters’ Organisation under whose auspices, Stalin delivered a sheaf of papers containing letters from Tamil Nadu to someone slightly more important than the concierge at the United Nations some months ago – a deed that was celebrated as a great victory in Tamil Nadu.

According to DMK insiders, to escape from the 2G denouement, Karunanidhi has planned to get all the blame shifted to his long stand suffering wife Dayalu Ammaal and then get a medical certificate to get her declared mentally unstable.

The only state to declare secessionist tendencies in India since independence is Tamil Nadu and the party that proclaimed it – is the DMK!

[The above excerpts are from a blog penned on May 1 2013. Link: – http://tsvhari.com/template_article.asp?id=738]

[2]

Excerpts from a blog published on May 14 2014:

I had openly ticked off Chokkalingam in an open press conference in the secretariat in 1984.

TSV Hari

The power brokers at the secretariat are manufacturing so-called telex orders to line the pockets of cabinet ministers here. I understand you created one to favour your son-in-law Devadas, son of Salem based Congress leader Ramaswamy Udayar with an industrial unit worth several crores with the signature of Finance Minister VR Nedunchezhiyan under the legend – for Chief Minister by utilising a false telex order from MGR. To my knowledge, MGR had turned down the whole thing not once but thrice. Did you falsify that correspondence Mr Chokkalingam?

Chokkalingam

I will not allow this question! This press conference is only meant for explaining developmental activities of the government!

TSV Hari

Mr Chokkalingam, a press conference does not mean you will hear your own voice. Journalists will ask questions.

Chokkalingam

That is impertinence!

TSV Hari

Yeah? So what would you call your forgery of a telex order that never was, Mr Chokkalingam? By your rather pathetic response, I already have answered my question in the affirmative. Your act has completely exposed your perfidy!

Someone in the secretariat press room remarked:

This fellow comes and spoils our weekly tea and tiffin courtesy the CS acting for some shady political group which is nursing some imaginary grouse using a completely fictitious charge against a totally honourable chief secretary.

“Small correction, my friend… you should say dishonourable cheap secretary,” I had snapped then.

My exposure of Chokkalingam in the presser had uncovered the perfidy of Karunanidhi and others to use the elected AIADMK government surreptitiously through Veerappan, Chokkalingam, Nedunchezhiyan and others by making MGR a dummy because of his illness – something the wily, legendary police boss of Tamil Nadu Mohandas had uncovered.

In early February 1985, the jokers in uniform who had collaborated with Karunanidhi were almost pissing ice and shitting bricks when MGR got down from the aircraft ladder unaided, accepted the greetings of then DIG Mr AX Alexander present at the airport, another upright officer and a personal friend to this day.

Eyewitnesses told me that an officer with the rank of IG even saluted Mr Alexander.

Mr Alexander laughed the whole thing away.

 “You know how it is, Hari. We lived for the job and never for its trappings. Such things do happen in one’s line of work.”

And it was Mr Alexander who initially explained to the CM after the oath taking why and how Mr Mohandas had been shunted out of the post of Head of Intelligence.

MGR’s first order was to reinstate Mr Mohandas.

When MGR had learnt my rather small role in the whole drama from Mr Mohandas, the CM invited me home to Ramavaram Gardens, gave me a breakfast and a coffee I will never forget for their supreme good taste.

[3]

Excerpts from the blog explaining a ‘breakfast’ meeting with MGR:

I met MGR him at his residence upon his return from abroad – at his invitation.

The CM was then recovering from a near paralytic stroke – triggered by severe diabetes, coupled with total renal failure.

I told him a few things bluntly.

 “Shivaji cannot perform if there is no camera in front of him and a script to back him. You are the exact opposite. You get a bit finicky and panicky when in front of a camera – and become extra careful to ensure that others do not overshadow you,” I said in chaste Malayalam.

MGR threw back his head and laughed.

Parenthesis

During a press conference in his T’ Nagar office in the early 80’s, while asking a question, I had referred to the current CM by her name – Jayalalithaa.

MGR corrected me and said, “You should refer to her respectfully and only as the Propaganda Secretary.”

“Mr. MGR! Jayalalithaa is your party’s Propaganda Secretary. I am referring to her respectfully by name. That is it. Answer the question please,” I had snapped.

After the presser, quite a few friends who worked for papers that owed allegiance to the then main opposition [and currently on the verge of disappearing] – the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam [DMK] hugged me and said, “You are the only one amongst us who can proudly twirl your moustache!”

In the 70’s, Mu Ka Muthu, Karunanidhi’s eldest son, had been projected as the main competitor of MGR and the actor had gone nowhere, very, very fast.

Before long, Muthu totally vanished from showbiz horizons, was rumoured to have turned into a washed up lush. The story goes that he one day walked into the Ramavaram Gardens’ residence of MGR fully drunk and began abusing his father in colourful expletives. Without any warning, MGR is supposed to have caught him by his balls, squeezed and said with a voice like that of the Devil Himself, “Are you aware that your father is my friend for well over 40 years, you ungrateful wretch? Think of what all he did to prop your career and what you did in return to besmirch his name. If you think you can use me to settle your imaginary scores with your father, think again. If you have come to me for money, I will send you a tidy sum every month. But, one wrong word about your father, I will have your guts for garters. Is that understood?”

Muthu had reportedly squirmed helplessly throughout the angry expressions from MGR out of sheer pain and had complied. MGR had given him a huge suit case believed to have contained a few lakhs of rupees. The money, it is said, used to reach Muthu unerringly on the first of every month. And when Karunanidhi heard about the good deed, he had apparently, profusely thanked the actor.

The recounting was done by none other than the smartest cop to walk the Indian earth – the late DGP K Mohandas and personally to me.

If he had wanted, MGR could have destroyed Karunanidhi’s reputation using, misusing and abusing Muthu. That the actor chose not to, if Mohandas is to be believed [I do believe the tale] it only shows that MGR was a good man, who never hit below the belt.

My mentor in Tamil journalism – Mr. Cho S Ramaswamy is the source of an anecdote that concerns the political career of Jayalalithaa.

Before appointing Jayalalithaa as the propaganda secretary, Jayalalithaa had called Mr. Cho on the phone and revealed the details of the olive branch extended by MGR.

“You seem to have taken the decision already at the behest of MGR. So why ask me? Surely, MGR must be somewhere near you. Give the phone to him and I will tell him my opinion,” Mr. Cho had said.

Jayalalithaa is said to have snapped the connection.

Soon MGR had called and confirmed the tidings.

Mr. Cho had approved and said, “Jayalalithaa has an axe to grind against Karunanidhi and her attacking him verbally would do wonders for the AIADMK.” And that piece of advice is holding good to this day. Mr. Cho has never written about this anywhere.

Upon MGR’s orders, the police had broken my leg. Ill-advised about my origins and political outlook, MGR had believed that I was a left-wing extremist whose political allegiances were with Karunanidhi.

Parenthesis ends

MGR had offered me a vast sum of money … something I had turned down.

“If I accept this, I would be like the rest of the parasites who pretend to be journalists and sail with the unsavory currents. You had been given a wrong picture about me. Now, I can say that not only that I knew MGR, MGR too knew me and considers me a friend. That friendship is worth much more than the money you are offering and I am turning the offer of money down and will uphold this offer of friendship to the extent of respecting the fact that you indeed are a good human being. Let us be clear about one thing. My friendship will not deter me from criticising your political actions when I hit the street again after this meeting,” I had said.  

Despite having suffered a paralytic stroke, despite having been weakened by the kidney transplant and all, MGR had hugged me tightly that day with surprising strength, tousled my hair and muttered something intelligible. I had guessed that he was calling me a person not in tune with the changing times.

I asked him whether I had guessed correctly. He had nodded in agreement.

“Whatever little stuff I did to restore democracy which in turn helped you in a very small way – is like the deed of the fabled squirrel that helped Lord Ram in the building of the causeway to Lanka. Incidentally, your name is Ramachandran too. What would a squirrel want other than a pat on the back from someone so successful as you?”

MGR was moved.

So was I.

With surprising alacrity and speed, like an indulgent father, MGR affectionately wiped my tears.

Is India’s Supreme Court Being Manipulated by Sinister, Criminal Bankers?

Is India’s Supreme Court being manipulated to suit evil designs of criminal wrongdoers – with special emphasis on the nation’s banking woes?

“The Judiciary is at loggerheads with the political establishment in a one upmanship game. But we need transparency and accountability in both institutions, not just Parliament,” is a comment published in the Times of India in September 2016 – some two months prior to the demonetisation move by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The Supreme Court asked the central government to reduce the inconvenience of the people of India, saying “you cannot have surgical strike” against the common public. “You (Centre) can have a surgical strike against black money but you cannot have surgical strike against the people of the country,” a bench comprising Chief Justice T S Thakur and Justice D Y Chandrachud said, pointing to the long queues at banks and ATMs within days of the demonetisation move by the Modi regime, a report in the website jantakareporter.com quoted the judges as saying on November 15 2016.

But, is the Apex Court doing its duty to curb the relentless acts of India’s worst criminal banker TM Bhasin – that seek to destroy India’s financial sector? The man has been left untouched since May 2016, despite a matter having been filed in July 2015.

The case of Vigilance Commissioner and India’s only criminal banker TM Bhasin is curious to say the least.

Operative excerpts from a report published in The Times of India in May 2016:

The Supreme Court issued notice to the centre over a petition challenging the appointment of former banker TM Bhasin as Vigilance Commissioner in the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC).

Bhasin , who is a former chairman and managing director of Indian Bank, was appointed as Vigilance Commissioner in June last year by the Selection Committee, headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and including Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Leader of the Congress party in the Lok Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge.

According to reports, BJP leader Subramanian Swamy, had sought the intervention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi through a letter sent on in June,2015, to render Bhasin’s appointment null and void on the grounds of “moral turpitude”. Swamy had cited correspondence which revealed a previous CVC had recommended departmental action against Bhasin.

Swamy was referring to a 2011 complaint against Bhasin for allegedly “deliberately tampering” with the appraisal of a subordinate.

The earlier CVC had recommended that Regular Departmental Action should be initiated against TM Bhasin.

Since July 2015, the Supreme Court is seized of a serious matter against Bhasin.

Excerpts from averments in the public interest litigation [PIL] being heard in the Apex Court against Bhasin:

Bhasin was indicted in a detailed inquiry by the Central Vigilance Commission in 2013 for forging and tampering with appraisal report of Malay Mukherjee– a former General Manager of the Indian Bank.

The Central Vigilance Commission recommended action against current CMD of Indian Bank – TM Bhasin as early as August 2013 asking the Union Finance Ministry to comply.

Operative excerpts:

The Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) has sought action against Indian Bank CMD TM Bhasin and former ED V Ramgopal for “high-handedness, arbitrariness and manipulation” of appraisal reports of Malay Mukherjee, a general manager in the bank, with a view to deny him a promotion.

The CVC also sought action against Shreya Guha [currently Secretary to Kalyan Singh, Governor, Rajasthan], a director in the ministry, for lapses in conducting enquiry against Bhasin and Ramgopal.

Seeking regular departmental action (RDA) against the two top-raking Indian Bank executives, CVC had told the finance ministry that Mukherjee’s performance for 2009 had been reviewed by the then ED A S Bhattacharya and M S Sundarrajan, who was then the CMD of the Chennai-headquartered bank. Bhasin and Ramgopal were not required to appraise Mukherjee for 2009-10 as he had not worked with the two executives, the report adds.

Despite this, Bhasin had “managed to get elected” as the Chairman of Indian Banks’ Association in 2014!

The missive from former Union Minister and currently senior member of the ruling party Dr Subramanian Swamy was strongly worded. It had been sent to the Prime Minister on 11.06.2015. It stated that charges against Bhasin were “very serious” and that the recommendation of the selection committee to appoint Bhasin as VC must be withdrawn on two grounds:

The first: “The finding of moral turpitude by CVC of Bhasin makes him unfit to keep the position of Vigilance Commissioner.

The second: Bhasin had allegedly collaborated with the nation’s enemy Dawood Ibrahim to ruin Bank of Baroda and thus destroy the Indian financial system.

Bhasin’s target in late 2014 had been reputed banker SS Mundra, who retired as one of the deputy governors in the Reserve Bank of India [RBI] recently. Bhasin had wanted the post Mundhra was scheduled to get as Bank of Baroda was larger and the position was more prestigious.  Bhasin had reportedly managed to keep Mundra waiting for several months.

Mundra’s elevation to RBI became possible after Dr Kamalesh Chandra Chakrabarty – another ex-Indian Bank head quit his RBI post 3 months ahead of schedule. Having spent most of his years in BoB, Chakrabarty has an impeccable record as a banker.

Bhasin took charge as the VC on June 11 2015.

In recent times, the Supreme Court has slammed the financial sector – with special emphasis on RBI.

“RBI is supposed to uphold public interest and not the interest of individual banks. We have surmised that many financial institutions have resorted to such acts which are neither clean nor transparent. The RBI in association with them has been trying to cover up their acts from public scrutiny,” said a bench comprising Justices M Y Eqbal and C Nagappan.

According to official RBI communiqués, the total write-offs in the 133 scheduled banks in India include a huge chunk of technically written-off accounts. The trotted out reason is: “After technical write-offs, there is no incentive for banks to pursue recovery.”

Rs. 1,14,000 crores worth ‘bad loans’ have been technically written off during the last 3 financial years (2012-13 to 2014-15). The write-offs exceed the previous nine years’ dubiously written off debts.

Of the total bad loan stock of Rs 4,43,691 crores in the banking industry, between 65-70 percent is linked to the corporate sector.

According to official RBI communiqués, the total write-offs in the 133 scheduled banks in India include a huge chunk of technically written-off accounts. The trotted out reason is: “After technical write-offs, there is no incentive for banks to pursue recovery.”

“We have to go after corrupt bank managements as well as corrupt promoters. There is no doubt that we need to do it. We do not have enough teeth. There are these promoters who have diverted funds. “Diverted fund” is a euphemism. I would say plainly that they have stolen the funds, and we cannot go after them. It takes too long,” so said Raghuram Rajan, former Governor of RBI, who is ill-disposed towards the demonetization process and is the blue-eyed boy of ace criminal lawyer P Chidambaram.

Even as all this was happening private sector foreign banks have ‘sold’ their bad debts of small borrowers to private banks in India. The buyer of such debts is a private bank – Kotak Mahindra. It has begun hounding those hurt by the financial downturn, despite its acts being in-congruent with India’s debt recovery laws.

If one takes a close look at how Satyam Computers morphed into Mahindra Satyam, one’s hackles would be raised!

Bhasin’s current protector-in-chief is Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley!

Removing Bhasin ought to be child’s play for the President of India on the basis of the above. Operative excerpts from the relevant rule book:

Subject to the provisions of sub-section (3), the Central Vigilance Commissioner or any Vigilance Commissioner shall be removed from his office only by order of the President on the ground of proved misbehaviour or incapacity after the Supreme Court, on a reference made to it by the President, has, on inquiry, reported that the Central Vigilance Commissioner or any Vigilance Commissioner, as the case may be, ought on such ground be removed. The President may suspend from office, and if deem necessary prohibit also from attending the office during inquiry, the Central Vigilance Commissioner or any Vigilance Commissioner in respect of whom a reference has been made to the Supreme Court under sub-section (1) until the President has passed orders on receipt of the report of the Supreme Court on such reference. (3) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1), the President may by order remove from office the Central Vigilance Commissioner or any Vigilance Commissioner if the said Central Vigilance Commissioner or such Vigilance Commissioners is and/or are involved in offences of moral turpitude.

[Emphasis added]

Excerpts from CJI TS Thakur’s thoughts on the functioning of the Apex Court:

The Constitution tells us that what would be the works to be done by the government. It has fixed the duties and responsibilities for judiciary, executive and legislature. “The judiciary has been given the duty to keep a watch that nobody crosses that limit. Any order which is against the Constitution, judiciary can set it aside to maintain the rule of law.

The obvious scofflaw Bhasin is being simply overlooked by the judiciary – and surprisingly even by the President – Pranab Mukherjee. Both have the powers to initiate action suo motu.

Yet, it hasn’t been done. Both Bhasin and his saviour Shreya Guha have been left untouched.

It is a matter of public knowledge that Bhasin is a favourite of FM Jaitley.

Jaitley also happens to be a senior lawyer whose spheres of influence encompass many rooms in India’s Supreme Court.

Jaitley’s utterances have embarrassed the PM on the demonetisation endeavour.

Banking sector is yet to rise up to the challenge of making life of the suffering common laity simpler. The likes of Vijay Mallya, of course make merry beyond the borders of India.

So, should India’s Apex Court judges look at themselves in the mirror and ask: “are we being manipulated to suit evil designs of criminal wrongdoers – with special emphasis on the nation’s banking woes?”