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BJP vs DMK in Tamil Nadu over limited edition Rafale watch, Rs 200 crore ‘bribe’

By Shilpa Nair: DMK is becoming a part of a global money laundering business and Chief Minister MK Stalin has taken Rs 200 crore from foreign shell companies, Tamil Nadu BJP chief K Annamalai claimed at a media briefing. These allegations and counter charges began with the DMK questioning Annamalai over his limited edition Rafale watch, the state BJP chief said.

“The entire issue started when the DMK raked up my limited edition Rafale watch. They asked me where I got such an expensive watch from and made several allegations. I told them I would produce the bill for the watch and, along with it, I would also expose the corruption and assets of DMK leaders,” he said.

BJP’s Annamalai shows bills of his Rafale watch.

“About my limited edition Rafale watch – there are only 500 such pieces and they are made from the scrap of the Rafale fighter jets. I bought this watch on May 27. Only two people have this watch in India. The original owner was a man named Ramakrishnan from Coimbatore. When I got to know about the watch, I asked him about it and bought it from him. I have known him for two years,” Annamalai said, holding out the bill for the watch.

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Annamalai said his lifestyle is supported by his “good friends” and “well-wishers”. “As the head of the Tamil Nadu BJP unit, I have to spend Rs 7-8 lakhs every month. I don’t have that kind of money. It’s my friends and well-wishers who are helping me with the money. My rent, the salary for my assistants, my car and other such things are all funded by my good friends. I am moving forward with their help. I became a politician and the head of the state BJP under extraordinary circumstances,” he said.

Accusing MK Stalin and his son-in-law, Sabareesan, of money laundering using foreign entities and accepting “corrupt money” from foreign shell companies, the BJP leader claimed: “The DMK is becoming a part of the money laundering business worldwide. MK Stalin is a beneficiary of a corruption scam in 2011. It pertains to the Chennai phase-1 metro project. Stalin was the deputy chief minister then.”

“Norms were tweaked by the DMK government and the tender went in the favour of a company named Alstom. For the election in 2011, the DMK and MK Stalin accepted Rs 200 crore bribes from companies based in Singapore and Hong Kong. Why were the tender qualification norms changed? Although it’s old, it needs to be probed.

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“I will file a complaint with the CBI director against MK Stalin. This is a fight for democracy in Tamil Nadu. How can a common man even think of contesting elections against these money-bag DMK leaders? What we intend to do is show how the people who ruled Tamil Nadu over the years became wealthier. We will release DMK Files in two parts. In the first part, we talked about the direct assets owned by DMK leaders.

“As a party, we want to reflect Modi ji’s vision of anti-corruption. We will launch our padayatra. It’s a people-oriented yatra. We want to tell people that corruption matters. We are not one-sided. When we talk about corruption, it is only fair that we talk about all the parties who have indulged in corruption,” he added.

In the “DMK Files” released by the state BJP, the party claimed that Kanimozhi’s total assets are worth Rs 830.33 crore.

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The DMK has countered the allegations leveled by Annamalai at the press conference and challenged him to produce evidence of his claims in 15 days.

“Annamalai said he would produce the bill for his Rafale watch. But what he has shown is just a chit. He cheated by showing a chit. The Enforcement Directorate, the Income Tax and other agencies come under PM Modi. By alleging corruption against DMK leaders, is Annamalai indirectly claiming that these institutions are inefficient?” DMK Rajya Sabha MP RS Bharathi asked.

“He claimed DMK’s properties are worth over Rs 1,000 crore. I challenge Annamalai to produce documents to prove this within 15 days. We will look at legal options if Annamalai fails to produce the documents within 15 days. Annamalai said his shirt was gifted by someone and his car was given by someone else. Everything is sponsored by someone or another. I want to ask him, is his brain his own?” Bharathi shot back.

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On the allegations that MK Stalin took Rs 200 crore as a bribe, the MP said: “Let Annamalai give a complaint to the CBI. We are ready to face anything. Who is he trying to threaten? We are not EPS or SP Velumani (AIADMK leaders).

“Annamalai claimed the scam took place in 2011. What was the BJP-led central government doing since 2014 if there was corruption? Are you saying the CBI and PM Modi are inefficient? You are accusing us of money laundering. Why don’t you register a case against us? We are ready to face it. You have the power. Prosecute us if we are corrupt,” he said.

“We deny the ownership of properties and the valuation of assets which Annamalai claimed belonged to DMK leaders. These allegations will not affect us a pinch in the elections.”

Asked about the claims about her assets in “DMK Files”, Kanimozhi said: “Some people are raising wrong allegations just to protect their political positions. It’s not necessary for me to react to such things.”

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