High drama marks raids on Raja aide's residence

 A Raja’s close aide Sadhick Batcha being taken for questioning by the CBI in Chennai on Wednesday. PTI Meanwhile, another team of sleuths descended on Perambalur, Raja’s home town.
A two-member CBI team from New Delhi searched the rented residence of one Sadhick Batcha and grilled him till evening in a marathon exercise after the raids commenced at the former minister’s residence in New Delhi on Wednesday morning.

Even as journalists rushed to the residence of Sadhick, located in a narrow street in the Tyneampet area of Central Chennai, the CBI sleuths emerged from the house after some three hours and took him in his car to different places in the city as part of their investigations.

Sadhick is associated with a little-known real estate and construction company — Green House Promoters Private Limited —  with which Raja’s wife M A Parameshwari is said to be associated. A large group of photographers stumbled ahead to have a picture of Sadhick when he moved out of the house accompanied by the CBI officials.

Swan Telecom, one of the companies with hardly any experience in the telecom business which got a 2G licence, was believed to be in the process of picking up big equity stakes in the Chennai-based Green House Promoters Pvt Ltd. The CBI is learnt to be investigating this angle.

Correspondents who rushed to the sleek office of the real estate and construction company, located on the sixth floor of an up-market commercial tower at T Nagar in south Chennai, found it deserted, barring two very nervous employees.

Sadhick Batcha, who according to sources here was close to Raja’s family at Perambalur near Tiruchirappalli, was briefly taken by the CBI sleuths to the former’s Chennai office. Some bank lockers were also asked to be opened for scrutiny,
sources said. Later, a team from the income-tax Investigative wing also searched his house here.

Interestingly, the website of the housing company in which Sadhick Batcha has been described as the contact person, went blank on Wednesday evening.

Simultaneously, another group of CBI officials reached Veloor village near Perambalur and searched the ancestral house of Raja there. The former minister’s elder brother A Kaliyaperumal usually lives there. The CBI team also searched Raja’s mother-in-law’s house at a nearby village, his sister’s house in Perambalur town and the premises of a trust associated with their family. Details on the search’s outcome are not immediately available.

AIADMK leader Jayalalitha on Wednesday reiterated her demand for Raja’s arrest.
The ruling DMK appeared shaken by the CBI raids though it continued to put up a brave face.

The CBI action was expected as it had assured the Supreme Court that investigations into the spectrum scam would be completed in three months, sources close to the DMK told Deccan Herald.

In fact, in a brief interaction with the media on Wednesday,  DMK leader and Chief Minister M Karunanidhi said he did not think that the CBI raids on the premises of Raja in Delhi, Chennai and Perambalur were shameful.

“The DMK believes that Raja has done no wrong, but if he is proved guilty, the party will show no consideration and definitely take action against him,” Karunanidhi told reporters at his residence here.

Karunanidhi denied that he was “blackmailing” the Congress on this issue as alleged by Jayalalitha. He made a tactical shift in his party’s approach to the Opposition’s demand for a JPC probe into the 2G spectrum scam.

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