Ever since the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) came to power in 1967 through its anti-Hindi rhetoric, anti-God pretensions, anti-Hindu embellishment, and anti-Brahmin polarisation, the party has been facing a series of grave indictments of corruption at various levels almost on a regular basis. Perhaps, the first-ever accusation of corruption against the DMK was made by the Treasurer of the DMK, MG Ramachandran, popularly known as MGR. When MGR asked for the details of poll expenses, M Karunanidhi refused to provide the details stating that such disclosure would needlessly expose the names of those who offered donations. It should be noted that most such election donations were ill-gotten and tax-evaded money. The lack of transparency in DMK impelled MGR to leave the DMK in 1972. This led to the making of a new political party called Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam. Subsequently, MGR submitted a memorandum to the President of India VV Giri to constitute a Commission of Enquiry into the corrupt charges against M Karunanidhi, several Cabinet members and district functionaries of DMK.
Emergency Weakened Anti-Corruption Mechanism
Subsequently, retired Supreme Court Judge Ranjit Singh Sarkaria appointed a one-man commission to enquire about all the 28 allegations of corruption and misuse of power by DMK and M Karunanidhi. Nevertheless, the political unrest during and post-Emergency had drifted the focus of Indian politics more towards Indira Gandhi, which, in turn, saved the DMK Government. If Indian National Congress could be seen as the first political party in India to undermine the anti-corruption mechanism in a systematic manner by burying the hard labour of justice Sarkaria, the DMK would go down in history as the first political party in independent India to institutionalise corruption in the State politics.
Masters of Scientific Corruption
History tells us that before 1967, corruption was only remotely present in Tamil Nadu politics. It was the DMK Government that was instrumental in institutionalising corruption in a scientific manner. The retired Supreme Court Judge Ranjit Singh Sarkaria, who submitted the Commission’s (Sarkaria Commission) report in March 1977, specified several corruption charges. The Commission, in its report, remarked that Karunanidhi and his associates were masters of scientific corruption. This clearly reveals that the term ‘scientific corruption’ and DMK are intricately connected to each other.
Tamil Nadu has had enough of a series of mind-boggling corruption scams that affect not only common people’s growth and development but also the country’s economy
It is in this context that the role being played by the anti-corruption warrior K Annamalai, the State president of Bharatiya Janata Party in Tamil Nadu, becomes relevant. While Prime Minister Narendra Modi has consistently confronted the politics of dynasty, regionalism, corruption and instability at the national level, K Annamalai has been fighting tooth and nail to question DMK’s dynasty politics and its corrupt practices.
In the recently released video ‘DMK Files’ – unaccounted property list of DMK leaders on April 14 – that contained a list of assets worth about Rs 1.34 lakh crores apparently owned by DMK Ministers, MPs and some party functionaries, K Annamalai indicated that there are a series of inconsistencies in assets declared and owned by them. Making a scathing attack on MK Stalin, the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Annamalai said: ‘Alstom, an MNC, had paid Rs 200 crores to Stalin during the 2011 Assembly election through two shell companies based in Singapore and Hong Kong through money laundering.’ He also specified that he would lodge a complaint with the CBI by providing all documents for a speedy investigation on these issues.
In fact, K Annamalai has listed the assets owned by DMK functionaries Anbil Mahesh Poyyamozhi, K Ponmudy, Duraimurugan, EV Velu, S Jagathrakshakan, KN Nehru, Kalanidhi Veerasamy, Kalanidhi Maran, CM’s son-in-law Sabareesan, TR Baalu, Udhayanidhi Stalin and Kanimozhi under the head, ‘Asset Accumulators.’ He has also included DMK distilleries, DMK schools and DMK universities in the list of DMK Files.
Most interestingly, K Annamalai’s initiative ‘Yen Mann, Yen Makkal’ (My Land, My People) is aimed at removing all forms of corruption in Tamil Nadu where one has to literally bribe for almost everything, if one has to live in Tamil Nadu—to get a community certificate, one has to bribe; to get water connection one has to bribe; to get an electricity connection one has to bribe; to get driving licence one has to bribe; to get Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA) wages one has to bribe; and one has to bribe to get one’s land registered. In fact, there is a long list of corruption as for as the DMK Government is concerned.
It is significant to note that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s zero-tolerance against corruption continues to embolden law enforcement agencies to not buckle under pressure from the powerful in taking action against corruption. Narendra Modi’s approach bolsters leaders like K Annamalai, who is looked upon by the people as Tamil Nadu’s Anna Hazare, who made headlines around the world through his movements that emphasised the need for Government transparency and zero tolerance to corruption.
Historically speaking, the idea of holistic development in Tamil Nadu would be a reality only when people completely reject Dravidian parties, most notably, DMK’s scientific corruption, which often takes different avatars. The present political scenario in Tamil Nadu evidently demonstrates that K Annamalai certainly leaves no stone unturned to create a new, dynamic, inclusive, dynasty-free, honest and transparent Tamil Nadu.