“Let them substantiate the alleged wrongdoings of Baalu”

In a fresh twist to the controversy over the Sethusamudram Ship Channel Project (SSCP), which the DMK wants implemented, the party president, M. Karunanidhi, on Monday sharply differed with his elder son, M.K. Alagiri, recently expelled from DMK, over some charges he made against the former DMK Minister, T.R. Baalu, once associated with the SSCP.

Virtually challenging Mr. Alagiri, another former Union Minister, without naming him, to substantiate the allegations against Mr. Baalu, Mr. Karunanidhi said here: “The question is not who is levelling the allegation. Let them substantiate in clear terms the alleged wrongdoings of Mr. Baalu.”

He was asked about Chief Minister Jayalalithaa’s poser on Mr. Alagiri’s charges.

Participating in a function in Madurai recently, Mr. Alagiri said he was not sure of the extent of irregularities that had allegedly taken place in the implementation of the SSCP’s first phase and how many ships (which had been deployed for dredging works) were “in the name of Mr. Baalu.” He also alleged that Mr. Baalu had “amassed” wealth while implementing the Central government’s ‘Golden Quadrilateral road project.’

Campaigning in Chennai on Sunday, Ms. Jayalalithaa urged that Mr. Karunanidhi respond to Mr. Alagiri’s allegation.

The DMK patriarch also refuted the allegation that he was politicising the release of the three convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case — Murugan, Santhan and Perarivalan — whose death penalty had been commuted to life by the Supreme Court.

“Everyone knows that the DMK demanded their release. What I said was whether it was fair on the part of the Chief Justice of India, P. Sathasivam, to talk about the issue at public functions,” said Mr. Karunanidhi. He also expressed the hope that the DMK’s prospects in the Lok Sabha elections were bright.

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