The grandson of DMK supremo and several times Tamil Nadu chief minister M Karunanidhi and son of Union cabinet minister MK Alagiri is missing for two months.
He is the most wanted man in the state with reportedly 15 police teams sniffing everywhere for his presence. Several close members of the family, including his wife, have told the police that they don’t know where he is. The police has raided his office in Chennai, nagged family and friends, and reportedly even tried to look for him on Facebook, but without luck.
Where has Durai Dayanidhi Alagiri disappeared? And how come his family, which claims no knowledge of his whereabouts, hasn’t filed a man-missing complaint if it really doesn’t know where he is?
Ever since the police in Tamil Nadu filed a case against him in connection with the Rs 16,000 crore illegal granite mining scam, he has been missing. The granite company, with which he is allegedly associated, is among the two top violators. The key men of both the companies have surrendered and are in custody.
Durai Dayanidhi is not a small man. He is a member of the only successful political dynasty in the state and has been a businessman with interests in diverse sectors. Along with other family members such as Udhayanidhi Stalin (MK Stalin’s son) and Kalanidhi Maran (former Union minister Dayanidhi Maran’s brother), he also controlled bulk of the production and distribution of Tamil films as well.
His father Alagiri is a strong man of the DMK and his writ ran large in the southern district of Madurai. However, since Jayalalithaa came to power, the stranglehold collapsed and the long arm of the law finally caught with the family and its accomplices.
Although he is missing all this while, Durai Dayanidhi has gone up to the Madras High Court seeking anticipatory bail against the police case. A Madurai bench of the high court denied him bail last month and he is most likely to take a chance with the Supreme Court. If his bail petition fails in the Supreme Court as well, he will have no option but to surrender.
Of late, politicians, who are otherwise invincible during their party-rule, going underground and seeking bail to evade police arrest and “custodial interrogation” has become quite common in the country. Interestingly, politicians, including those who used and abused power, are fearful of the police when they are the targets. For instance, former Haryana home minister Gopal Kanda and several CPM leaders in Kerala facing criminal cases had been untraceable for several days till they surrendered, mostly incognito, in courts. Once in custody, Kanda reportedly even asked for a separate vehicle for his commute to the court for fear of “blade-attacks” by other prisoners. Perhaps they know all too well how the system can catch up with them as well.
One of the reasons for their evasion of arrest is the fear of custodial torture. Once they surrender before a magistrate, the police can get them in custody only with judicial oversight and many feel it is safer.
People who know Durai Dayanidhi as a successful film producer say he is an affable and well-mannered man. All the movies that he produced or distributed under the Cloud Nine Movies banner had featured A-listers and were box office hits. Apparently, his under production movie is part-complete and will have to wait for his return.
Illegal quarrying of granite by a handful of companies in Madurai, in southern Tamil Nadu, has been rampant for several years. They not only stole the granite, but also caused extensive environmental damage besides grabbing land from people including policemen.
The illegal operations have also reportedly deprived farmers of their livelihood. Officials of the Tamil Nadu Minerals Corp. (TAMIN), departments of revenue, and geology and mining and the police have allegedly connived with the quarry mafia. Apparently, one company alone owned about 3000 acres of land in Madurai and surrounding places.
The granite scam was exposed by former Madurai collector U Sagayam, who wrote a letter to the government on the issue, which was leaked to the local media. In his letter, Sagayam said that illegal mining has cost the exchequer Rs 16,000 crores.