NEW DELHI: India’s prime minister insisted yesterday that his government had nothing to do with a raid on a top opposition politician’s home, a day after the politician’s party pulled out of the ruling coalition.
M K Stalin, a key powerbroker in the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) who is also the son of the party’s leader, reacted furiously after investigators searched his home as part of a tax probe, calling it a political “vendetta”.
Stalin described the officers from the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) as the “dead hand” of the main ruling Congress party and said they had targeted his home in the southern city of Chennai for no good reason. “There should be some reason behind (the raid)... it’s a political vendetta,” he told reporters.
But after a series of senior ministers condemned the timing, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told reporters he himself was upset by news of the raid. “We are all upset at these events. The government had no role in this, that I am sure of,” he was quoted as saying by the Press Trust of India. “We will find out the details. This should not have...(happened). The timing of the raid is most unfortunate.”
Stalin’s home was one of around 20 locations raided in and around Chennai as part of an investigation into the illegal import of cars worth $3.7m. The DMK’s five ministers handed in their resignations to Singh on Wednesday over the coalition’s perceived failure to condemn alleged atrocities against Tamils in Sri Lanka.
The main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party waded into the row, denouncing the raid as a “blatant” abuse of power by a government trying to cling to power.
In a statement the CBI insisted that the operation “was strictly in accordance with procedures” and there was “no intention whatsoever to target any particular individual”.