The CBI searches on the premises of the Maran brothers in connection with the Maxis-Aircel deal were termed “mere eyewash” by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, as they came four years after the transactions, but archrival M. Karunanidhi came out strongly in support of his grand-nephews.

Ms. Jayalalithaa said the searches were aimed at hoodwinking the public. “We do hope something will come of these raids, but it seems to be an exercise in cheating the public,” she told reporters outside her Poes Garden residence here on Tuesday.

She said it was very difficult to imagine that after this long interval of four years, the Maran brothers would still keep incriminating documents in their residences or on their office premises. “In these four years, so much meaningful action could have been taken. So we will have to wait and watch if anything comes out of it,” she added.

Invoking the name of his nephew Murasoli Maran, father of the Maran brothers, Mr. Karunanidhi said he would not disown them. “They were handed over to me by Murasoli Maran. I have stood by them in the past and continue to be with them in their effort to challenge legally the crisis akin to that of emergency days and overcome the troubles,” the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam president said in a statement.

Reacting to some media reports that neither he nor the DMK was concerned about the Maran brothers, Mr. Karunanidhi said he had not expressed his opinion even on the case against his daughter Kanimozhi because he did not want to politicise the issue by interfering with the actions of the CBI and the court.

‘Part of conspiracy’

Mr. Karunanidhi said reports that he was not worried about the sons of Murasoli Maran were part of a conspiracy to undermine the DMK and aimed at hurting him and driving a wedge in his family.

Calling upon his partymen and the public not to get carried away by such media reports, he said he was as much concerned about the foisted cases against the Maran brothers as he was about the release of Ms. Kanimozhi from the cases filed by the CBI.