New Delhi, Nov 28:
A prosecution witness in 2G money laundering case told a court here Friday that India Cements, which owns the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) team of Indian Premier League (IPL), paid Rs. 60 crore to Kalaignar TV for advertisements in 2011.
Former telecom minister A. Raja, DMK parliamentarian Kanimozhi, DMK chief M. Karunanidhi’s wife Dayalu Ammal and Kalaignar TV’s Sharad Kumar and P. Amirthan with others are facing trial in the case.
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has alleged that around Rs.200 crore were paid by the promoters of Swan Telecom, using their group firm Dynamix Realty, to Kalaignar TV via Kusegaon and Cineyug in the garb of a legitimate financial transaction.
“An amount of Rs. 60 crore was paid to Kalaignar TV (P) Limited in 2011. The purpose of payment of Rs. 60 crore was to advertise our products, that is, cement, and also publicise our franchise Chennai Super Kings (CSK) during the IPL period in order to increase the sale of cement as well as to increase the gate collections of CSK,” the witness said on being asked by ED counsel N.K. Matta.
Muralidhar further deposed that this was the first time that his company had entered into a long-term contract with Kalaignar TV. “We have not entered into long-term contract with any other TV channel,” he said.
He told court that the…company did not take any loan for this payment.
He added that he was treated very cordially during his examination by Enforcement Directorate officials during the investigation.
He added that his company did not commit any illegality by the advertising contract with KTV. He further added that the company benefited hugely from the media exposure through KTV as IPL is a popular cricketing event in India.
Other accused in the case are Shahid Usman Balwa and Vinod Goenka of Swan Telecom, Asif Balwa and Rajiv Agarwal of Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables and film producer Karim Morani.
Cineyug Media and Entertainment, Kalaignar TV, Dynamix Realty, Eversmile Construction, Conwood Construction and Developers, DB Realty and Nihar Construction were also named as accused.
The chargesheet said the payment was illegal gratification for, and on behalf of, Raja and his associates in lieu of illegal favours to Swan Telecom for the grant of telecom licence. The court Oct 31 framed charges of money laundering against Raja, his party colleague Kanimozhi and others.