DMK supremo M Karunnaidhi on Thursday evening came out in support of his grandnephew and blamed the media for defaming him.
“In this world, it is the media that rules and if it wants it can destroy anyone,” he said. Asked if the DMK will back Maran on the charges against him, Karunanidhi replied in the affirmative — a monosyllabic “yes”. Asked if there was any communication from the Congress, Karunanidhi said, “No one spoke to me.”
Since the controversy over the Aircel-Maxis deal broke out, the DMK and its chief have kept aloof, with Karunanidhi even telling the media that Maran was well capable of taking care of himself.
Significantly, this is the first time that Karunanidhi has openly defended Maran. In the past, the DMK chief had little reservations about defending former telecom minister A Raja and his daughter Kanimozhi when they were summoned by the CBI. In party forums, Karunanidhi condemned the CBI and endorsed a resolution attacking the investigating agency. With very little support from within the party and from Karunanidhi, Maran had to handle the spectrum backlash on his own.
Earlier in the day, former minister T R Baalu, who is in New Delhi, is said to have contacted Karunanidhi and sought advice. “Karunanidhi told him that if the PMO contacted him about Maran’s resignation, he should convey that the DMK had no objections on the matter,” said a senior DMK leader. Karunanidhi had also informed his younger son MK Stalin his sentiment on the issue. Maran too is said to have spoken to Karunanidhi around 10.30am before tendering his resignation to the Prime Minister.
On Wednesday night, after the CBI submission in the Supreme Court about Maran’s alleged involvement in the Aircel-Maxis deal and his act of coercion, Karunanidhi went into a huddle with senior party leaders, including Stalin and few former ministers. Sources said Karunanidhi had shrugged helplessness and indicated reluctance to come out open in support of Maran. Some family members even suggested that he open up a channel of communication with the Congress leadership. But Karunanidhi declined to intervene on the issue.
Within the family, Karunanidhi’s older son and Union minister MK Alagiri has quietly distanced himself from Maran in recent days. However, his younger brother Stalin continues to back Maran. Stalin has argued strongly in favour of Maran, saying that the CBI had not even questioned him before making a submission in the Supreme Court.