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Karunanidhi cleared of corruption charges

M Karunanidhi Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi has been cleared of corruption charges made against him after his earlier tenure as chief minister in 1989-90.

The Sivasubramanium commission of inquiry, which probed the charges against Karunanidhi and his relatives, concluded that the allegations were baseless. The one-man commission was appointed by the Jayalalitha Jayaram government in August 13, 1992, following complaints by the then member of Parliament and Tamil Nadu Congress Committee president Vazhapaddi K Ramamurthy and two MLAs. The commission submitted its report on March 15 last and the Karunanidhi government accepted the findings on April 12.

In his report, Justice Sivasubramanium, a retired judge of the Madras high court, noted that the Jayalalitha government did not take steps to facilitate the investigation. It showed that the Jayalalitha government was not really interested in completing the inquiry, he said.

The commission started its work only after Karunanidhi came to power again in May 1996 and the post of inspector general of police was filled by the present government, to facilitate completion of the inquiry.

Karunanidhi was charged with favouring his son Alagiri and former son-in-law Athiban Bose (now divorced from his daughter), in the granite export trade. He had allegedly also received Rs 7.5 million from hoteliers through his son Alagiri and received Rs 4 million through his wife Rajathi Ammal for procuring medical college admissions.

The commission said the charges of nepotism and taking favours were not proved and the allegation that his wife Rajathi Ammal had received Rs 4 million to organise medical college seats was also baseless. It also said the allegation that Alaigiri prevented the auction of 210 arrack shops in Madurai district also could not established. A similar allegation about the prevention of sale of arrack shops in Thiruvannamalai, Sambuvarayar district, also could not be proved, it said.

The commission dismissed as baseless allegations that Karunanidhi had shown undue favouritism in permitting Sivasankaran, owner of Sterling Computers and a close associate of Karunanidhi's nephew and now Union Industry Minister Murasoli Maran, to be co-promoter in three major industrial projects of the Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation though he did not have financial backing or experience.

On the charge that Karunanidhi had his position to settle scores with film actor T Rajender (now a Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam MLA) by taking undue interest in demolishing the construction belonging to his wife, Usha Rani Bhoopal, the commission said it had also not been proved.

The commission also found that there was no basis for the allegation that Karunanidhi's son M K Stalin, who is now the Madras mayor, had ransacked the office of a private company at his father's instance. No one had come forward to support such a serious allegation, the commission noted.

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