Tamil Nadu BJP President K. Annamalai has lodged a formal complaint with the Department of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption against DMK Handloom Minister, Gandhi, alleging corruption of Rs. 60 crore in the procurement of sarees and dhotis for the state’s poor. The complaint seeks a comprehensive investigation into the matter, and Annamalai has submitted supporting documents to bolster the charges against the minister.
Annamalai, during his recent yatra, accused Minister Gandhi of engaging in a sophisticated form of corruption related to the distribution of Pongal sarees and dhotis to ration card holders. He claimed that instead of choosing the more expensive cotton yarn, priced at Rs. 320 per kg, authorities purportedly opted for polyester yarn, available at half the cost (Rs. 160 per kg) this year. The BJP leader further revealed test results obtained from the Coimbatore-based South India Textile Research Association, shedding light on alleged malpractices in the Pongal saree/dhoti distribution.
நேற்றைய தினம், ராணிப்பேட்டை சட்டமன்றத் தொகுதி #EnMannEnMakkal பயணத்தின்போது, தமிழக கைத்தறித் துறை அமைச்சர் திரு. காந்தி அவர்களின் விஞ்ஞானப்பூர்வமான புதிய ஊழல் ஒன்றை மக்கள் மத்தியில் வெளிப்படுத்தினோம்.
அமைச்சர் காந்தியின் பெயருக்கும் அவரது செயல்பாடுகளுக்கும் பொருத்தமே கிடையாது.… pic.twitter.com/f2GiDFQeBu
— K.Annamalai (@annamalai_k) February 7, 2024
Annamalai alleges the involvement of DMK Minister Gandhi in a corruption scandal related to the free scheme of the department. In the complaint letter, he references an event during his “En Maan En Makkal” yatra in Ranipet on February 6th, where the BJP exposed corruption in the scheme. Annamalai stated that evidence was presented during a press briefing, shedding light on the alleged malpractices within the Handloom and Textile Department.
💥DMK Govt's scam in Free Saree & Dhoti Scheme!
The saree & dhoti provided should be 100% cotton, testing reveals cotton is 22% & d rest is polyester.
Thalaivar #Annamalai Avl said, BJP will file complaint with DVAC tmrw.
Also he waits for CM to take action against Min Gandhi. pic.twitter.com/AXZ0FpgGrw
— Soma Sundaram 🇮🇳 (@isomasundaram72) February 6, 2024
Annamalai asserted, “Minister Gandhi spread false information in the media after the corruption was exposed, attempting to divert attention from the alleged wrongdoing.” The BJP leader claims that the Handloom and Textile Department, responsible for supplying free dhotis and sarees to ration cardholders during the Pongal festival, has faced delays in procurement and payment settlements since the DMK came to power.
Highlighting this year’s alleged manipulation, Annamalai revealed that the DMK government ordered the manufacturing of 1.68 crore dhotis and sarees. He referred to a Government Order (GO) dated October 22, 2023 (copy enclosed), emphasising that while free dhotis and sarees have traditionally been made of polyester since 2003, the GO specifies that the warp in dhotis must be cotton, with the weft possibly being polyester.
Annamalai emphasised, “For handloom and Pedal loom dhoti, 60sK Cone Yarn must be used for the warp, and for Powerloom Dhoti, 40s Cone must be used. The GO and traditional practices clearly state that only cotton is to be used for the warp, not polyester.” To validate their claims, the BJP submitted a dhoti (Stamp No. Sa2-920) for testing at the South Indian Textile Research Association (SITRA), a reputed NABL accredited laboratory. The test results allegedly found that only 22 percent of the warp was cotton, while 68 percent was polyester, contradicting the manufacturing specifications.
Annamalai proceeded to outline the financial implications of the alleged corruption, stating, “1 kg of cotton is supplied at Rs. 320, whereas the tendered procurement rate for 1 kg of polyester is Rs. 160. Additionally, polyester is available in the market at a range of Rs. 90 to 130 per kg.” The BJP leader accused Minister Gandhi of compelling handloom and pedal loom owners to use polyester instead of cotton in the warp section, leading to substantial financial discrepancies and potential corruption.
Tamil Nadu BJP President K. Annamalai has intensified allegations against Textile Minister Gandhi, claiming corruption of Rs. 60 crore in the procurement of Free Dhotis. Annamalai has urged the Department of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC) to initiate a comprehensive investigation into the matter, stating that the extent of corruption in the procurement of Free Sarees is yet to be determined.
In a formal letter to DVAC, Annamalai emphasized the urgency of the situation and requested suitable action against the minister based on the enclosed documents. This move follows Annamalai’s previous exposes, where he released DMK File 1, 2, and 3, revealing corruption allegations against DMK ministers, the Chief Minister, and others through audio clippings and videos.
Furthermore, Annamalai highlighted the adverse impact of the alleged corruption on ration cardholders, stating that many recipients have reported receiving dhotis that shrink to a towel size after just three washes, lacking the water-absorbing qualities of cotton yarn.