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 house of top DMK leader M K Stalin in Chennai early on Thursday morning, kicking up a political storm.
The agency had to back off after cries of indignation from the entire political class, particularly the opposition which charged the government of retribution.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and other top ministers such as finance minister P Chidambaram, found themselves on the backfoot and in an unprecedented move, publicly distanced themselves from the CBI action even as TV channels showed visuals of the CBI search on 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, had reportedly 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.
However, sources said the file on the subject originated in the finance ministry as it was a case relating to evasion of duty and handled by the DRI.
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.
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