DMK urges Guv to act against CM over 'corruption'; Palaniswami refutes charges

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(Eds: Adds details) Chennai, Dec 22 (PTI) DMK president M K Stalin on Tuesday submitted a petition to Governor Banwarilal Purohit alleging graft charges against Chief Minister K Palaniswami and seven of his Cabinet colleagues seeking action against them under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Rubbishing allegations, Palaniswami accused the DMK of seeking cheap publicity by peddling lies and slander and said such gimmicks had all along been followed by the main opposition party. Such charges were nothing new but merely lies, he said.

Ministers during the previous DMK regime, including K Ponmudi and M R K Panneerselvam, faced cases against them for 'ammasing' weath disproportionate to their known sources of income, he said, adding 'only to hide such things, Stalin has levelled the charges.' Also, Palaniswami provided an exhaustive list of allegations and cases against the DMK men, including its sitting, and former MLAs and others.

Alleging all round corruption in the AIADMK regime led by Palaniswami, Stalin, after calling on Purohit at Raj Bhavan, said the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption department did not act on their several complaints.

Such plaints included those against Palaniswami, Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, Ministers S P Velumani, P Thangamani, D Jayakumar, R B Udhayakumar and C Vijayabaskar and since there was no action, the 'evidences' have been compiled and submitted to the Governor, the DMK chief told reporters.

The DMK's 97-page complaint against the Ministers include Food Minister R Kamaraj and it made specific allegations against all eight of them.

In his capacity as Governor, Purohit could order prosecution against the Chief Minister and others under the Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Act, 2018, Stalin said.

'Governor should direct the Vigilance and Anti- Corruption department to take action. He should ensure inquiry and all the relevant documents have been provided to him.' Stalin said Purohit told him that he would take action after perusing the allegations.

To a question, the DMK top leader said besides filing complaints, cases had been filed in courts.

'The Madras High Court ordered a CBI probe against Palaniswami. It was stayed by the Supreme Court on the basis of a petition of the Chief Minister,' Stalin said, adding the corruption allegations would be taken to the 'people's court' as well.

Stalin, who is also the leader of opposition in the Assembly, said his party has been receiving graft allegations against several other Ministers too.

His party's legal wing was scrutinising them and when they obtained evidence, it would also be submitted to Purohit which would be the 'Part-two,' the DMK leader said.

The Chief Minister said the DMK's allegations were an attempt to create confusion in the minds of the people when their leaders faced a host of corruption cases.

Also, unable to tolerate the huge, positive response from the people to the Rs 2,500 cash support scheme to the over two crore rice-ration card holders to help them celebrate the Pongal festival next month, the DMK chief has now pleaded with Purohit, Palaniswami told reporters at Tuticorin.

The cash support and a festival hamper, comprising ingredients to make Pongal for the people, was announced as the public were affected by the coronavirus pandemic in addition to the recent, two back to back cyclones, he said.

Also, the Rangarajan Committee, tasked to make recommendations for economic recovery in the wake of the pandemic, recommended it, the Chief Minister said.

On Monday, Palaniswami launched the cash gift scheme of Rs 2,500 for two crore plus rice ration card holders in addition to a festival hamper, comprising rice and sugar (a kilo each), a piece of sugarcane, 20 gram each of cashew nuts and dry grapes besides five gram cardamom.

Gifts of hampers with ingredients to make 'Pongal' (Sweet rice) and cash have been given away to beneficiaries previously as well by the AIADMK government which captured the reins of power from arch rival DMK in 2011 and retained power in 2016 polls. PTI VGN BN WELCOME BN WELCOME