The Central Bureau of Investigation has decided to question K Kanimozhi, daughter of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Karunanidhi and Rajya Sabha Member of Parliament, in connection with the 2G scam.
The decision to summon Kanimozhi was taken soon after a special CBI court sent former telecom minister A Raja to Tihar Jail for 14 days in judicial custody.
Sources in CBI confirmed that Kanimozhi would be asked to appear before the agency before March 1. The news sent ripples through political circles, as it is seen as the first direct blow to Dravida Munnettra Kazhagam chief Karunanidhi's family in the 2G scam.
The Congress and the DMK are in coalition in Tamil Nadu, where assembly elections are due in April. Although neither the Congress nor the DMK have indicated a break-up of the partnership, high-level sources in the Tamil Nadu unit of the Congress said the latest development is bound to strain the relationship. The Congress is already talking with another Dravidian party -- Vijayakanth's Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam -- for the upcoming assembly polls.
The DMK and the Congress has so far maintained, at least for public consumption, that the current investigations would have no impact on electoral ties. The DMK has so far backed Raja, who is known within party circles as a Kanimozhi loyalist.
Kanimozhi, however, denied receiving any summons from the CBI. "I have not received any such communication from the CBI so far," she told reporters on Thursday evening.
The CBI's decision to summon Karunanidhi's daughter came after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh made it clear during his press interaction on Wednesday that no one would be spared in corruption cases, irrespective of their position. The PM also categorically said his government is 'dead serious' about bringing the guilty to book.
Raja was sent to Tihar Jail on Thursday after CBI Judge O P Saini remanded him to judicial custody. He was arrested by the CBI on February 2 for alleged ministerial favouritism in the allocation of 2G licences.
"Accused is remanded to judicial custody until March 3," said Saini in his order at Patiala House Court in Delhi.
At Tihar, Raja will join personal secretary R K Chandolia and former telecom secretary Siddharth Behura, who are already incarcerated for their involvement in a scam that is estimated to have caused a notional loss of Rs 1.76 lakh crore to the exchequer.
Raja was forced to resign over charges of irregularities in 2G licence allocation at the end of 2010 and was later arrested. The court allowed Raja to have home-cooked food, among other things that Counsel Ramesh Gupta had requested for.
Raja had filed an application seeking directions to the jail superintendent for prescribed medicines and reading glasses. "He is allowed to have bland, non-spicy food in small servings because of his health," Raja's physician Gautam Chandrashekhar said.
After the order for his judicial custody was announced, Raja spent some time with his supporters, including DMK members, who had come to meet him.
"He discussed matters related to his constituency," one of the members said after Raja left.
Raja will be presented in court on March 3 after his custody period ends.