Tamil Nadu BJP chief K Annamalai has released a second audio clip, where his party claims state finance minister PTR Palanivel Thiaga Rajan is heard denigrating the ruling DMK and accusing Chief Minister MK Stalin’s family of corruption. In the audio clip – which NDTV cannot independently verify — the speaker is heard saying, “The CM’s son and son-in-law take away a bulk of the spoils”.
In what appears to be a reference to his quitting a party position after becoming minister, the speaker is also heard praising the BJP’s “one man one post” rule and slams DMK for “lack of system”.
In his tweet, Annamalai has thanked “PTR” for “drawing a proper distinction between DMK and BJP”.
A similar audio had surfaced recently, in which the speaker — purportedly PTR — is heard saying, “Udhayanidhi (Chief Minister M K Stalin’s son) and Sabareesan have accumulated 30,000 crore”.
Calling the clip “fabricated”, the minister had said that “no malicious attempts to divide us will succeed”. He had also said “more such audios and videos” could come.
On April 14, Annamalai released what he calls the “DMK files” in which he alleged that key DMK leaders have accumulated assets worth Rs 1.34 lakh crore. The list included including Chief Minister MK Stalin’s son and Sports Minister Udhayanidhi Stalin, and other ministers including Durai Murugan, EV Velu, K Ponmudy, V Senthil Balaji, and former Union Minister S Jagathrakshakan.
He had also alleged that in 2011, during the DMK’s earlier tenure, Stalin was paid a Rs 200 crore bribe for favouring a private company get a contract to supply coaches for Chennai Metro Rail.
The rail company has denied this, saying “a fair process was followed”.
The ruling DMK has denied allegations and issued legal notices to Annamalai, demanding an apology and huge cash damages of upto Rs 500 crore.
Annamalai has refused to apologise and denied he has violated any defamation law. He has also demanded an independent forensic analysis of the audio.
Annamalai has hit back, challenging the minister to produce an incriminating audio clip with his voice.
Since the minister “is resting on an argument that this audio is fabricated, we challenge him to produce an audio clip with similar content but instead in my voice,” Annamalai said.
The state BJP leadership has urged Governor RN Ravi to order a forensic audit of the audio clip.
The BJP, which has marginal presence in Tamil Nadu, is also witnessing a strain in ties with ally the AIADMK.
The south party has suffered three consecutive defeats in elections it contested in alliance with the BJP, after which some leaders had aired suspicion that the BJP could engineer a split within its ranks ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
With inputs from NDTV