The DMK president, at a ‘makkal grama sabha’ in Coimbatore, also said his party, if it came to power, would probe the reasons behind former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa’s death
DMK president M.K. Stalin on Saturday said he would prove that the corruption charges against Municipal Administration Minister S.P. Velumani were true.
Addressing a ‘makkal gram sabha’ (people’s gram sabha) in Mr. Velumani’s Thondamuthur constituency in Coimbatore, he said overpriced LED bulbs had been purchased for streetlights in local bodies.
“I am ready to prove that the corruption charges against you [Velumani] are true. And you cannot get away by saying that you will quit politics. After the DMK returns to power, you will be brought to justice,” he said.
Mr. Stalin said that information obtained by an activist, under the RTI Act, had revealed overpricing in the purchase of several items.
“I was once a proud Municipal Administration Minister, but I am now ashamed, looking at the level of corruption taking place under Mr. Velumani,” he said.
“If the level of corruption in a panchayat is ₹1 crore, imagine what it is for the 12,000 panchayats in Tamil Nadu,” he said.
‘Ready to quit’
Responding to Mr. Stalin, Mr. Velumani said he was prepared to resign from all positions if the charges were proven true. “If the charges against me are not proven, will Mr. Stalin resign from all positions of his party and give way for others?” he asked.
Mr. Stalin reiterated that his party, in its manifesto, would include the promise of a thorough probe into former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa’s death and bring the guilty to book. The Justice Arumughasamy Commission was only an eyewash, with Deputy Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam, who demanded a probe into Jayalalithaa’s death, not appearing before it, despite being summoned eight times, he said.
At a similar meeting in Siruvalur village in Erode’s Gobichettipalayam taluk, he said the AIADMK government had failed to conduct the mandatory gram sabhas, in three years. Hence, his party was conducting ‘makkal gram sabhas’, to listen to the problems of the people, he said.
“I accept that only local bodies should conduct the meetings. But Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami, in his four-year tenure, has failed to conduct the meetings,” he said.
Mr. Stalin said School Education Minister K.A. Sengottaiyan, who hailed from the region, had failed to create export opportunities for Erode turmeric, despite its GI tag.
Besides, sugarcane farmers were switching to other crops, as they were not getting the right price for their produce.