The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has summoned K Ponmudi, a senior minister in the DMK cabinet, to appear on November 30, while DMK Lok Sabha MP Kadir Anand, son of DMK veteran Durai Murugan, has been summoned on November 28. The summon comes after ED raids in July, during which K Ponmudi and his son, DMK MP Gautham Sigamani, were questioned.
Kadir Anand’s summons is linked to the seizure of Rs.11 crore from a residence in Katpadi before the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, allegedly intended for voter distribution. Raids at Duraimurugan’s residence resulted in the seizure of Rs.10 lakh cash, and an additional Rs.11.55 crore was seized from places associated with him.
Meanwhile, Gudiyatham Kumaran, a deputy secretary of policy propagation for the DMK and an official spokesperson, has levelled corruption charges against Duraimurugan’s family. Kumaran, who was suspended from the DMK in 2019 for releasing an audio clip critical of Duraimurugan, has alleged corruption and involvement in a sand mining scam by Duraimurugan and his son Kadir Anand.
Kumaran, a resident of Gudiyatham in Vellore district, was reinstated into the DMK after the intervention of 2G scam fame and DMK MP A Raja. Initially aligned with Duraimurugan, Kumaran later shifted allegiance to CM Stalin and Udhayanidhi Stalin. Appointed as the deputy secretary of the party’s propaganda wing, Kumaran has become vocal in accusing Duraimurugan’s family of corruption.
In response, Duraimurugan, the General Secretary of the DMK, announced the suspension of Gudiyatham Kumaran from all duties, including primary membership. The suspension is attributed to Kumaran’s actions, which were deemed as exceeding the party’s control and tarnishing its reputation.
In a viral video, Kumaran accuses Duraimurugan and his son of being involved in a sand mining scam, claiming that Duraimurugan has earned a staggering Rs 60,000 crores through such activities. He alleges corruption and challenges Duraimurugan’s integrity. Duraimurugan, in a video that went viral earlier, emotionally stated, “Take a vow till the elections that I will not report the corrupt activities to the authorities. Some cruel-hearted in the party inform and leak information to the Income Tax and ED about us. These ungrateful have lost their senses which are in a numb stage.” At that time, the target of his remarks was unclear, but it now seems to refer to Kumaran.
Kumaran’s accusations intensify the turmoil within the DMK, with corruption charges and internal conflicts threatening the party’s stability. The ED summons to Ponmudi and Kadir Anand further add to the pressure on the DMK seniors.
The unfolding events suggest troubled days ahead for the DMK, as the party grapples with both internal dissent and external legal challenges. The corruption allegations and ED summons cast a shadow on the ruling party, raising questions about the ethical conduct of its leaders and the potential impact on the political landscape in Tamil Nadu. The developments will be closely watched as they unfold, with implications for both the party’s internal dynamics and its public image.
Tensions escalated when TN BJP state secretary S G Surya took to social media to share the explosive allegations. In a tweet from his official handle, he stated, “Estranged #DMK Leader Gudiyatham Kumaran accuses loot of Rs 60,000 Crores just in sand mining in last 2.5 years by DMK Gov.”
Former Finance Minister accused earlier a loot of ₹30,000 Crores by DMK First Family.
Total Corruption now stands at ₹90,000 Crores. pic.twitter.com/Id7CRYGiPW
— Dr.SG Suryah (@SuryahSG) November 22, 2023
The backdrop to these accusations involves alleged irregularities in sand quarry contracts during 2021. Duraimurugan, the Minister of Water Resources, faced criticism for reportedly awarding a sand quarry contract to sand baron Sekhar Reddy and associates in exchange for crores of rupees in bribes. Duraimurugan’s discontent with his portfolio assignment, shifting from PWD to water resources, added fuel to the internal strife within the DMK.
Reports suggest that Duraimurugan, despite being a senior and experienced minister, felt sidelined as CM Stalin sought advice from newcomers who joined from AIADMK. There are also suspicions within the DMK that Duraimurugan may have leaked information on corrupt practises to income tax and enforcement authorities, potentially as a bid to regain influence within the party.
The ED, responding to these allegations, conducted raids at multiple locations, including sand quarries and godowns across the state. Seeking assistance from IIT Madras and ISRO, the ED aims to analyze satellite images and track the movements of vehicles involved in unauthorised sand mining activities.
Sand mining has long been a lucrative venture for political parties in Tamil Nadu. The practise, documented since the M Karunanidhi government’s decision in 2008 to issue permits to contractors for river sand quarrying, has fueled corruption and amassed vast wealth for those involved. The illicit mining of beach sand, despite a ban since 2013, has continued at an alarming scale.
The nexus between politicians and the sand mining industry came under the spotlight during the 2019 assembly election campaign. In a viral video, jailed DMK MLA Senthil Balaji promised that the DMK would not interfere with people mining sand in bullock carts once MK Stalin assumed office. The controversial statement underscored the deep-rooted connections between political leaders and illegal sand mining activities.
In the wake of the ED raids, the chief engineer of the water resources department, Muthaiah, was questioned. Additionally, ED has issued summonses to at least 10 district magistrates whose jurisdictions were involved in sand mining operations.
Tamil Nadu BJP Chief Annamalai, in an April 2021 release of DMK files, brought attention to financial dealings involving Duraimurugan’s son, Lok Sabha member Kathir Anand. The documents revealed substantial amounts allocated to Kingston International Academy and Kingston Engineering College, raising questions about financial transactions within the DMK leadership.
As these allegations and investigations unfold, the DMK finds itself grappling with internal dissension and external scrutiny. The sand mining scandal threatens to tarnish the party’s image, while the ED’s involvement signals potential legal repercussions for those implicated in corruption. The coming days are crucial as the political landscape in Tamil Nadu navigates the storm unleashed by these explosive revelations.