AIADMK to seek probe into Finance Minister’s ‘audio clip’ 

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Though Tamil Nadu Finance Minister Palanivel Thiaga Rajan has said the ‘audio clip’ in which he was allegedly making charges of corruption within the ruling DMK is not authentic, the AIADMK will press the Union government to probe the issue independently, AIADMK general secretary Edappadi K. Palaniswami said on Sunday.

Speaking to reporters at the Madurai airport, he said Mr. Rajan had said the audio clip was not authentic. Therefore, the AIADMK would take up the issue with the Union government. “It is a serious allegation; as a responsible Opposition party, the AIADMK will pursue the matter,” he said.

Asked about the amendments made to the Factories Act to allow 12-hour work, Mr. Palaniswami said it showed the “double standards” of Chief Minister M.K. Stalin and the ruling DMK. When he was in the Opposition, Mr. Stalin opposed any change to the Act. Now, after he became the Chief Minister, his government passed the Bill amending the Act.

“Humans are not machines. Working for 12 hours will affect the health of workers. The government should withdraw the decision and drop the idea of holding talks with stakeholders,” he said, adding that when its allies opposed the decision, the DMK should take note.

The AIADMK leader, who arrived here by a scheduled flight, was accorded a rousing reception, led by V.V. Rajan Chellappa and a large number of former Ministers, including Dindigul Srinivasan, Natham Viswanathan, R.B. Udayakumar and Sellur K. Raju. He drove to Virudhunagar district and offered his condolences to the family of former Minister K.T. Rajenthra Bhalaji, whose father passed away recently.

In Chennai, a BJP delegation called on Tamil Nadu Governor R.N. Ravi at the Raj Bhavan on Sunday evening and submitted a representation for an independent forensic audit of the audio clip. BJP State vice-presidents V.P. Duraisamy and Karu Nagarajan led the delegation. “The party sought a forensic audit of the audio file for the benefit of the people of Tamil Nadu. The Governor has assured us action,” Mr. Duraisamy said.

Replying to a question on Mr. Palanivel Thiaga Rajan’s contention that the audio clip was not authentic, Mr. Duraisamy said, “We are making an allegation. Let him prove that he is not guilty.” Asked whether the party would urge the Union government to take action, Mr. Duraisamy said, “If the source of income is not proved, the course of action will continue.” He also contended that they were of the view that the voice in the audio clip was that of Mr. Palanivel Thiaga Rajan.

BJP State president K. Annamalai said in a statement, “We challenge him [the Finance Minister] to produce an audio clip with a similar content but instead in my voice. We shall submit both audio samples to a court-monitored investigation and let the investigating agency ascertain the genuineness of both audio clips.”

Mr. Annamalai, a former IPS officer, said he would submit his voice samples and expected the Finance Minister to do the same. “So, the Finance Minister should understand that this is too big a case to be swept under the carpet with weak statements.” Mr. Annamalai also asked him not to underestimate the intelligence of the people of Tamil Nadu.

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