The Central Bureau of Investigation questioned Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi's wife Dayalu Ammal and daughter Kanimozhi here on Friday in connection with the 2G spectrum scam.
Sources in the agency said a special team of the CBI's Anti-Corruption Branch flew down from New Delhi early in the day and questioned the two at the office of Kalaignar TV. The Tamil channel's office is housed at ‘Anna Arivalayam,' the headquarters of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK).
Nearly a month after conducting a search at Kalaignar TV and questioning its Managing Director Sharad Kumar, the CBI brought members of the State's first family under the ambit of its probe, just weeks ahead of the Assembly elections. Dayalu Ammal and Kanimozhi hold 60 and 20 per cent shares respectively in the channel.
The agency suspects that the transfer of Rs. 214 crore to Kalaignar TV by a company linked to Shahid Usman Balwa of DB Realty, who is under arrest in the 2G spectrum case, was a quid pro quo for Swan Telecom getting a 2G licence and spectrum at a “throwaway price” when A. Raja, also in judicial custody, was the Communications minister. However, Kalaignar TV has sought to clarify that the money was advance payment for picking up stakes in the channel, but it was returned with an interest of Rs.31 crore after the deal fell through following differences over the valuation of shares.
While Mrs. Dayalu Ammal was questioned for about half-an-hour, the CBI team sought clarifications from Kanimozhi for more than three hours. The questions focussed on the flow of funds to Kalaignar TV. Investigators were simultaneously perusing Income Tax returns filed by the channel since its inception.