Egg on govt face after CBI raids Stalin
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Two days after the DMK walked out of the UPA and sparked a new political crisis at the Centre, a CBI team raided the home of top DMK leader M K Stalin in Chennai early on Thursday morning, kicking up a political storm.
The action sparked indignation in the entire political class, particularly the opposition, which charged the government with carrying out vendetta against the DMK.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and other top ministers, including Finance Minister P Chidambaram, were caught on the wrong foot and, in an unprecedented move, publicly distanced themselves from the development even as TV channels showed visuals of the ongoing search at Stalin's house.
The raid was believed to be part of a statewide operation to trace luxury imported cars which had evaded duty to the tune of crores of rupees. Stalin's son Udhayanidhi, a film producer, was suspected to have bought one such SUV.
"You all know the sequence of events. This is a case of political vendetta," Stalin, who is widely seen as the political heir to DMK chief M Karunanidhi, told reporters.
Finance Minister P Chidambaram, who won the Sivaganga seat following the alliance with the DMK, was among the first to publicly voice disapproval of the raids.
"I strongly disapprove of the CBI action. It is bound to be misunderstood," he said, adding that he had conveyed his feelings to V Narayanasamy, the minister in charge of CBI.
Prime Minister Singh too publicly distanced himself from the development. "We are all upset at these events. The government has no role in this, that I am sure of. We will find out the details. This should not have happened. The timing of the raid is most unfortunate," he told reporters.
Others including parliamentary affairs minister Kamal Nath and telecom minister Kapil Sibal and minister of state Rajiv Shukla too jumped in to criticise the CBI action.
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