During its presentation to JPC members, ED confirmed that the DB Group, which got 2G licences from former telecom minister A Raja, paid Rs 223.55 crore to Kalaignar TV. The Chennai-based TV channel is owned by Karunanidhi’s wife and daughter.
“It was investigated under Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in connection with the illegal gratification of Rs 200 crore paid by DB Group company to Kalaignar TV,” ED said in its presentation.
Briefing the JPC, ED said it was also probing allegation of another payoff to the Karunanidhi clan: the one from Maxis Communication in which the beneficiary was Sun Direct TV Ltd, which is owned by family members of former telecom minister Dayanidhi Maran.
The allegation is that Maran abused his official position to coerce and help the Malaysia-based Maxis acquire Aircel. The disclosure before the JPC may mean continuing embarrassment for the UPA government.
“Investigations for the offence of money laundering are being carried out on the basis of allegation of illegal gratification of Rs 549.96 crore,” ED said on the Maxis-Aircel payoff case. The agency said its investigation is in progress and along with CBI, it conducted probe in Malaysia in May 2012 and is awaiting certain specific information from Malaysian authorities.
The agency gave transaction details of the payoffs in the Kalaignar TV case and said it had “traced the original source of funds of illegal gratification from where the offender company routed the funds through various entities based in and outside India”. ED provided a list of transactions and front entities used to route this payoff.
JPC members on Tuesday slammed the ED for its “slow pace” of investigation into the 2G scam and sought more details on the money trail. Top ED officials, along with finance secretary R S Gujral, appeared before the JPC to brief about the progress made in the case.
Members, including Gurudas Dasgupta (CPI) and Ravishankar Prasad (BJP), wanted to know whether all the cases being probed by the agency came under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA).
Members like T Siva (DMK) and Manish Tewari (Congress) wanted to know whether ED was able to establish “illegal gratification” allegedly paid to Kalaignar TV.
The agency had recently interrogated DMK MP Kanimozhi, one of the three shareholders of Kaliagnar TV and daughter of Karunanidhi. Kanimozhi owns 20% share in Kalaignar TV while her stepmother Dayaluammal owns 60%, and the MD of the channel Sharad Kumar owns the remaining 20%. ED had questioned and recorded statements of both Kanimozhi and Sharad Kumar last month while Dayaluammal was spared.
An “exhaustive” list of witnesses, which includes former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee and former finance minister P Chidambaram, was placed before JPC but it has been decided that a final list of witnesses will be drawn up in consultation with all members. This came after Dasgupta said the list was finalized on the basis of a “compromise” between Congress and BJP but should be based on “proprietary”.
Yashwant Sinha (BJP) objected to the name of Vajpayee saying if he is being summoned as a witness, then his demand to call Prime Minister Manmohan Singh should also be accepted, sources said.
It is learnt that former telecom secretary Siddharth Behura, an accused in 2G scam case, now out on a bail, will be summoned on July 10, when the next meeting has been scheduled.