Sunday, December 26, 2010

Andimuthu Raja

Tehelka, the paper who did the pioneering spy reporting on George Fernandes, now give some information on Andimuthu Raja of the DMK, and his associates.

IMO: The UK papers tend to be some way behind the times in their methods - many still seem to blame the Official Secrets Act - but the UK Telegraph, a rather capitalist outfit, has tried to bare some of the Westminster facts in the way that Tehelka has done for many years in the more democratic country of India. Is David Cameron yet another George Fernandes ? More important, will we ever find out ? Cameron certainly does not seem to be such a kindly chap as most people seem to rate Fernandes, so we may never know. (On the Official Secrets Act, the Home Office has informed the Committee that, in its view, the proposed Bill should remove the common law defence of ‘duress of circumstance’ in order to address unauthorised disclosure by members, or former members, of the intelligence and security Agencies. The Bill should also put an element of the associated ‘authorisation to disclose’ procedure onto a statutory footing and increase penalties. This proposal has yet to receive policy clearance across Whitehall. So the Cameron Government are trying to make it 'worse' again.)

Anyway, Raja had set up front companies well before the spectrum allocation: a mix of hawala channels, realty firms, NGOs, family trusts and export firms ensuring safe passage for the spoils of politics. For this, he established contact with NRIs, audit firms in Malaysia and local companies in Chennai, Perambalur, Trichy, and Coimbatore. With easy money flowing in, many became millionaires overnight.

Sadiq Batcha, a door to door sari salesman and small time DMK politician, met A. Raja - so Raja is now allegedly worth more than 2000 crore.

The money seems to have flowed as follows: companies that were favoured with spectrum allocation sold it off at a huge profit, sent the money abroad, from where it flowed back to show up as profit in Raja’s business empire. Raja also depended on his family, friends and associates to park the money while others dumped their shares in Dubai, Singapore, Malyasia and Sri Lanka. The money involved was so huge that it could not be absorbed only in benami properties, which is the usual way to stash away ill-gotten wealth in India. Swiss bank accounts are no longer safe, as they were for earlier generations.

A charity Tamil Maiyam run by Catholic priest Jegath Gasper Raj received large amounts of money from Green House India Promoters, Equaas Real Estates and Kovai Shelters. The ETA Ascon Star Group also made donations. If the CBI manages to establish that spectrum beneficiary companies gave large donations to Tamil Maiyam, the noose will tighten around Raja and his close friend Kanimozhi, Rajya Sabha MP and Karunanidhi’s daughter, who is on the non-profit’s board of directors.

IMO: It is all good (UK) 'Private Eye' back page stuff and of course there is much much more. On J.G.Raj, he states “I pray that my countrymen, as true children of a great civilisation, will courageously raise their voice against the immoral and undemocratic foreign policy of India that has substantially contributed to the genocide of our Tamil brethren in Sri Lanka.” Holy and reasonable words, which could be considered to be born out by current facts in Sri Lanka but rather than simply ponder and ask 'Sed quis custodiet ipsos custodes?' it certainly looks as if Raj's affairs should be probed by CBI.

FWIW, Shangkalpam Ltd. which seems to be a key firm in these matters, has an office in London, registered at the address 188 Royal College Street. The Tehelka series of articles contain much more information.

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