Chennai: In a bizarre turn of events, the CBI raid at Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) supremo M. Karunanidhi's son M.K. Stalin's house, has been called off minutes after Finance Minister P Chidambaram strongly disapproved of the action.
The raid was being carried out in connection with an alleged illegal import of cars. The raid, which began at 6 am, came hot on the heels of the DMK pulling out of the UPA government over the Sri Lankan Tamils issue. It was stopped a little after 10 am, media reports said.
Finance Minister P Chidambaram immediately responded, disapproving the CBI searches, saying that it would send strong signals.
"Normally I do not comment on the working of another department (home ministry), but in this case I have to say that I strongly disapprove of the CBI's action. It is bound to be misunderstood," Chidambaram said.
"I have conveyed my views to the minister in charge and I suggest you put further questions to the minister in charge," he added.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath also objected to the raids, while Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajiv Shukla said the government condemns the raids and the CBI would be asked to explain the same.
M K Stalin termed the searches as political vendetta. "You see for yourself. The raids took place just two days after we quit the UPA," he told the media here.
"We left the UPA that is why CBI raided us. We will deal with it in accordance with the law," he added.
Stalin's secretary's house was also searched.
The raids were conducted after a complaint from the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence about the import of cars without paying duty. Reports also indicated that the Stalin was not named in the FIR.
CBI= Congress Bureau of Investigation, says BJP
Meanwhile, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) accused the UPA government of misusing the CBI to threaten allies into forcibly supporting them.
"It is a proven fact that the government (UPA), to stay in power, has been using the CBI to continue their strength in the government," BJP's Rajiv Pratap Rudy told Times Now.
"When the alliance partners are leaving them, they are using their authority against them. It is a sharp message to the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party that if you leave the Congress party, you will meet the same fate. So, it a veiled threat," he added.
Party spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said that the "government was surviving in power on the crutches of the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate".
The Samajwadi Party, whose support to the UPA government has become crucial after the DMK's exit from the coalition, has been playing hard with the government and seeking Steel Minister Beni Prasad Verma's resignation after he publicly rebuked Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav.
D Raja questions timing of raids
Meanhwhile, communist Party of India (CPI) leader D. Raja questioned the timing of the CBI raid, and sought an explanation from the Congress-led UPA Government.
Raja said the timing of CBI raid or investigation raises several serious questions.
"It can be one of the classic cases of misuse of CBI for political purposes or it can be one of the classic cases of political vendetta. Of course, it is possible that the CBI must be having a credible evidence for such an investigation or for such a raid, but the timing. Why CBI did not act earlier? The CBI could have acted sometime afterwards. Why CBI has chosen this time?," he asked.
Raja said the timing of CBI investigation or raid needs to be explained by the government.
"That is why the opposition parties are always apprehensive of the misuse of CBI for political purposes. Now, it justifies what the opposition parties are saying. And this is really a serious issue since the DMK was part of the government. There was no raid so far, suddenly the raids and investigations of the CBI have begun. So, the timing is very important," he added.
Raja further alleged that this move of the government could also be seen as a message to Mulayam Singh Yadav's Samajwadi Party (SP) or Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP).
"I also can add that does the government think such a CBI raid or CBI investigation can send a message to SP, BSP, such parties who are trying to bail out the government," he said.
The DMK on Tuesday withdrew its support to the UPA over the issue of alleged human rights violations of Sri Lankan Tamils, and ruled out any reconsideration.
A five-member DMK delegation headed by T.R. Baalu handed over a letter by party supremo M. Karunanidhi to President Pranab Mukherjee at 10.30 p.m. at Rashtrapati Bhavan withdrawing support of its 18 Lok Sabha MPs to the UPA government.
This move of the DMK has made the UPA Government vulnerable despite its assertions of having a parliamentary majority. The ruling coalition will now eye for support from the regional parties, which includes the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Samajwadi Party.
With the pullout of the 18 DMK MPs in the Lok Sabha, the strength of the UPA Government declines from 295 to 277 in the Rajya Sabha.