The Business of Politics: Sun TV and the Maran Brothers

On 12 August 2015 the Supreme Court restrained the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) from arresting former Union Minister for Communications Dayanidhi Maran till 14 September. He had earlier been summoned by the CBI for questioning after being accused of installing a “telephone exchange” with 323 lines at his residence at a cost of Rs 400 crore for the benefit of the Sun Television group led by his elder brother Kalanithi Maran. The three-judge bench of the apex court suspected “political vendetta” behind the CBI’s intentions, which the Attorney General (AG) of India Mukul Rohatgi denied.

Two days earlier, the Madras High Court had cancelled the anticipatory bail granted to Dayanidhi and directed him to surrender before the CBI. The Supreme Court bench observed that while the first information report (FIR) in this particular criminal case had been registered two years ago, the accused person had not been arrested. The judges pointed out that the assessment of the loss to the government-owned telecommunications company Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) was estimated at Rs 1.20 crore by the CBI, which Dayanidhi said he was willing to pay; though petitioner Swaminathan Gurumurthy had alleged that the total loss to the exchequer on account of the illegal installation and use of these lines by Sun is Rs 400 crore The judges remarked (Mahapatra 2015):

We are not saying it is not misuse of power. But it is not that kind of corruption that requires arrest. Nobody should get away with such a crime if proved. But custody for what purpose? If you think the phone lines were fixed as part of [a] conspiracy, question him [Dayanidhi], question the BSNL officials. Why arrest him? Have you arrested the BSNL officials who agreed to comply with the illegal orders of the minister? Have you made it a matter of prestige to arrest him? ...You (CBI) file a chargesheet and prove the charges against him...
 

AG Rohatgi had told the bench that the former minister misused the phone lines for data transfer, video streaming and television broadcasting for his brother’s company. He alleged that there had been a conspiracy between Dayanidhi and offi cials of Sun TV and BSNL. The judges were not convinced by these arguments; they wondered why the AG was appearing in an anticipatory bail case.

On 18 August, the Press Trust of India reported that the government had issued instructions that two petitions be filed against orders issued by the Delhi and Madras High Courts favouring a company in the Sun group that runs the Red FM chain of radio stations. This company had been unsuccessfully sought to be prevented by the government from participating in a public auction of airwaves on the ground that there were criminal charges pending against its promoters and directors, notably Kalanithi Maran, and that these charges had implications on the maintenance of the “economic security of the nation.”

These are among the new developments in the long drama involving the Sun group’s promoters, the Maran family and their media operations. In Tamil Nadu, more than in most Indian states, politics and the media have for long been intimately intertwined. The two biggest political parties in the state, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) (now in power in the state) have been led by media personalities. Many— if not most—prominent producers, directors and scriptwriters of films, publishers of newspapers and magazines, radio and television broadcasters and providers of content on the internet are affiliated to one of the two dominant political parties. Even the relatively smaller political parties in Tamil Nadu own and operate media organisations as control over the media is perceived as an important source of political power in the state.

Story of Sun Rise

Over the three decades since it was set up, the Sun group of companies controlled by the Maran family has become one of India’s biggest media conglomerates with around 5,000 employees and 30,000 shareholders. It operates one of the country’s largest network of television channels, 33 of them, in the four languages of southern India (Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada) which reportedly reach out to nearly 100 million households. In addition, the group owns 45 FM (frequency modulation) radio stations, besides at least two daily newspapers and six periodicals. It is engaged in distributing media content through cable and direct-to-home (DTH) operations. The group’s channels are available outside India in countries and regions like the United States, Canada, Europe, Singapore, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.

The Sun group also produces and distributes feature films: it had released 21 feature films till the middle of 2015. It used to own the franchise of the Hyderabad Sunrisers cricket team that participates in the Indian Premier League (IPL). The Sun group is also connected to a telecom company (Aircel) and had diversified into civil aviation (SpiceJet). While the Sun group’s links to Aircel are mired in controversy, the group has sold its interests in SpiceJet to one of the company’s original promoters after the low-cost airline incurred losses, was on the verge of having to ground its aircraft and had defaulted on paying taxes deducted at source (TDS) to the Income Tax Department.

The group’s flagship company, Sun TV Network, increased its total income from Rs 2,223.62 crore in 2013–14 to Rs 2,395.38 crore in 2014–15 while its net profit went up from Rs 748.01 crore to Rs 782.04 crore in this period. These figures do not tell the full story about the size of the group which includes over a dozen closely-held private limited companies and other entities. Among the media brands that are part of the group are Sun TV, Sun News, KTV, Sun Music, Chutti TV, Sumangali Cable, Adithya TV, Chintu TV, Kiran TV, Khushi TV, Udaya Comedy, Udaya Music, Gemini TV, Gemini Comedy, Gemini Movies, Dinakaran, Suryan FM 93.5 and Red FM 93.5. Sun TV is controlled by Sun TV Network, Suryan FM is owned by Kal Radio, Red FM is owned by South Asia FM and Dinakaran is owned by Kal Publications. Kal Radio and South Asia FM are subsidiaries of Sun TV Network and the Maran family has 75% control over these companies.

One study by Anuradha Bhattacharjee and Anushi Agrawal has mapped how the market shares of the Sun group across different media segments have grown in the first decade of the new millennium.

Using market share as a proxy for control over media and information disseminated, the study estimated that the “company power index” of the Sun group rose from 65.56 in 2000 to 82.4 in 2008 and further to 152.85 in 2011. It argued that the group’s political links implied that it enjoyed more market power than what the index numbers imply. Further, the study pointed out that the only other group with a comparable sweeping presence across media sectors is Reliance Industries. In 2012, after Reliance invested in the Network18 group, it entered into an agreement with the Sun group for distribution of signals in the four southern states of the country—indicating a monopolistic presence of the group’s Sumangali and Kal cable television networks in Tamil Nadu.

The head of the Sun group, 50-year old Kalanithi Maran (whose name, incidentally means “treasure trove” in Sanskrit) is the grand-nephew of the DMK head and former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu Muthuvel Karunanidhi. He is the older son of Murasoli Maran, former union commerce minister. Having studied in the US, he returned to India in 1987 to oversee the working of his father’s weekly magazine, Kungumam. He then started producing TV programmes and his group entered the cable TV distribution business. The group’s flagship firm Sun TV Network was originally incorporated as Sumangali Publications in December 1985. It was only two decades later that it became a public limited company. Sun TV was launched first in Tamil in April 1993 with three hours of daily programming and became a 24-hour channel in January 1995. It did not look back thereafter, launching a number of news and entertainment TV channels and radio stations in different languages.

Over this period, the Maran family became fabulously rich. One ranking by Business Standard in September 2014 ranked Sun TV chairman Kalanithi Maran and his wife and executive director Kavery Kalanithi as the “richest” corporate executives in India, more wealthy than members of the Jindal, Birla and Munjal families as well as “professionals” like A M Naik (Larsen & Toubro), Vishal Sikka (Infosys) and N Chandrasekharan (Tata Consultancy Services). In 2013–14, the couple’s remuneration (salary, perquisites and allowances) stood at Rs 59.89 crore each. Interestingly, in the two previous years, the Maran couple had earned even more: in 2012–13, they each took Rs 112.4 crore as salary, perquisites and other allowances, while in 2011–12, they each earned Rs 114 crore. According to Forbes magazine, Kalanithi was the 23rd richest person in India in 2014 with a net worth of $2.3 billion.

The Political Son Rise

After Murasoli Maran died in November 2003, Karunanidhi offered Kalanithi a ticket to contest the 2004 Lok Sabha elections from the Chennai Central constituency. He turned down the offer which then went to his younger brother Dayanidhi who won the elections and went on to become the Union Minister for Communications and Information Technology in the first United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government in which the DMK was a constituent of the ruling coalition. Dayanidhi reportedly loves the good life and used to be Karunanidhi’s main interlocutor with former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson and Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

Things seemed to be moving quite smoothly for the Maran brothers till 2007 when Dinakaran, a newspaper in the Sun group, ranked Dayanidhi as the “best performing” minister from Tamil Nadu in the central government ahead of the then Finance Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram, former DMK Minister for Shipping, Road Transport and Highways T R Baalu, former Minister of State for Environment and Forests Andimuthu Raja and Anbumani Ramadoss of the Pattali Makkal Katchi. Later that year, in May, the newspaper published another survey rating Karunanidhi’s younger son M K Stalin higher than his elder sibling M K Alagiri. This led to Alagiri’s supporters ransacking and firebombing the offices of Dinakaran and Sun TV. Three employees died in the violence.

Karunanidhi ensured that Dayanidhi’s ministerial portfolio was taken away from him and Raja was made minister for communications. Karunanidhi’s family then launched Kalaignar TV to rival Sun TV. Sharad Kumar, who was with Sun TV, ran Kalaignar TV. Arasu Cable Corporation was set up by Karunanidhi’s family to compete with Sumangali Cable Vision controlled by the Marans’ Sun group. Initially, Karunanidhi rebuffed attempts by the Marans to reconcile. Then, they patched up just before the April–May 2009 Lok Sabha elections. Dayanidhi was given a DMK ticket to contest; he won and became union minister for textiles while Raja was given a second term as communications minister in the second UPA government. Through this period of turmoil, Kalanidhi kept his head down and concentrated on growing his business. In 2010, he made a “bold” decision to enter the aviation business by buying SpiceJet.

The Maran family-owned Sun TV has been accused of brazenly browbeating its competitors to preserve its dominant market positions. Kal Cables blocked signals of rival TV channels (including Jaya TV which supports J Jayalalithaa, the AIADMK chief and current Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu) from its distribution networks whenever the DMK was in power in the state (1996–2001, 2006–11). The DMK has also been part of successive ruling coalitions in Delhi, including the United Front, the National Democratic Alliance led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the UPA led by the Congress.

In its 2011 election manifesto, the AIADMK had promised to end the monopoly of the Sun group in the cable TV distribution business in the state. In June that year, a month after the AIADMK was elected to power, nine cases of cheating and intimidation were filed against Sun Pictures and its then chief operating officer Hansraj Saxena, who spent almost two months in police custody. In September that year, during the launch of Arasu Cable to compete with Sumangali and Kal, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa remarked (Ramasubramanian 2015):

For Rs 70 a month, people can enjoy more than 90 channels. So far, the money went to one family, but hereafter it will come to the state exchequer, and we are fulfilling our poll promise of breaking that monopoly.

The AIADMK was not the only rival of the Marans. The brothers ran afoul of the former head of the Tata group, Ratan Tata, allegedly because Sun TV did not want to compete on a level playing field with the DTH TV distribution services of Tata Sky. In a now-infamous, handwritten letter to Karunanidhi dated 13 November 2007, Tata praised Raja’s “rational, fair and action-oriented leadership” of the department of telecommunications (DOT). This letter was personally delivered to the then Tamil Nadu Chief Minister by lobbyist Niira Radia a few months after Raja had replaced Dayanidhi as union telecom minister. Tata, the then Chairman of Tata Sons, was questioned about this letter by Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC). He acknowledged that he had a “chemistry problem” with Dayanidhi. The PAC report which was made public in April 2011 stated (Arun 2011):

The committee is surprised that a person of Tata’s stature sent a personal letter to the DMK patriarch (Karunanidhi) when the latter had nothing to do with framing and implementation of policies at the central level… The Radia tapes only reveal the proverbial tip of the iceberg and provide glimpses of the often unreported backroom deals, shady trade-offs, the role of middlemen who have acquired a certain halo of respectability...

Maxis and Aircel

Tata was not the only businessman who had an open tiff with the Marans. On 6 June 2011, C Sivasankaran came to the Delhi headquarters of the CBI and lodged a formal complaint alleging that he had been arm-twisted by the Marans to sell his telecom company Aircel to the Malaysia-based Maxis group. Dayanidhi, however, claimed that “nobody can force anyone to sell his business” (Business Standard 2014a). Sivasankaran had put Aircel up for sale even before he became telecom minister in May 2004, Dayanidhi contended.

Earlier, in January 2011, Justice Shivaraj Patil had investigated the “appropriateness of procedures” followed by the DoT in issuing telecom licences with spectrum between 2001 and 2009. His report stated that the DoT took no action on Aircel’s applications for spectrum in six telecom circles (or geographical areas) when Dayanidhi was telecom minister and further claimed that the government-owned BSNL did not deliberately provide interconnectivity facilities to Aircel during this period.

In October 2005, Maxis began the process of acquiring Aircel. According to the FIR lodged by the CBI six years later in October 2011, Sivasankaran alleged that he received a call from Dayanidhi instructing him to “work with Maxis on the issue.” Subsequently, Sivasankaran met Kalanithi in November 2005 and the following month, he announced that he was selling Aircel to Maxis. What happened thereafter is noteworthy. Astro All Asia Networks, a company related to the Maxis group, invested Rs 629 crore in Sun Direct, the DTH firm in the Sun group. This amount included a premium of Rs 549 crore given directly to Kalanithi and Kavery who were issued shares at par value.

In July 2011, Dayanidhi was dropped from the union cabinet as textiles minister and in October that year, the CBI conducted search-and-seizure raids on the residences of the Marans located at Chennai’s Boat Club Road. As time passed, more facts about the murky Aircel–Maxis deal became known. On Sivasankaran’s complaint to the CBI that he was “forced” to sell his stake in Aircel to Maxis, in May 2014, the CBI told the Supreme Court that there was a difference of opinion between the then CBI Director (Ranjit Sinha) and the agency’s prosecution wing on the filing of a charge sheet in this criminal case. The AG had opined that there was enough prosecutable evidence. Thereafter, the Malaysia-based Maxis Communications Berhad, an accused in the case, urged current Finance Minister Arun Jaitley that it be treated in a fair manner. It cited opinions by two retired Chief Justices of India that sought to refute the CBI’s allegations against the Marans.

According to the DNA newspaper (8 August 2015), an audit report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) alleged that former Finance Minister Chidambaram violated rules of the government’s Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) by approving the Aircel– Maxis deal worth Rs 3,514.45 crore without referring it to the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA). The rules of the FIPB state that the finance minister can only approve proposals worth Rs 600 crore and it is mandatory that he refers all proposals above this amount to the CCEA.

The CAG audit report claims the finance ministry knew in January 2006 that the Maxis group would invest $800 million in Aircel through its Mauritius-based subsidiary, Global Communication Service Holding (GCSH). The report unravels a complicated set of transactions and arrives at a conclusion that the total investment of the Maxis group in Aircel was 99.3%, rendering it ineligible to acquire the latter. This was because the rules of the government do not allow a foreign firm to hold more than 74% shares in an Indian telecom company. The government auditor has alleged that the DoT did not do the necessary due diligence on the transaction despite filings by the Maxis group in the stock exchange in Malaysia which clearly specified that it held 99.3% of Aircel’s shares.

In May 2012, this issue was raised in the Rajya Sabha where Chidambaram stated that the discrepancies in the valuation of shares need to be addressed within the purview of the law. The CAG report argued that in 74 meetings of the FIPB between 2007 and 2014, the board had recommended all proposals above Rs 600 crore to the CCEA for approval, the sole exception being the Aircel–Maxis proposal. When asked about his role in the episode, Chidambaram told DNA (Rai 2015):

Please talk to FIPB officials. These were clarified by (the then Finance Minister) Mr (Pranab) Mukherjee in Parliament. There was no additional foreign investment in the company. Only the promoter changed. Mr Ashok Chawla was Additional Secretary and Mr Ashok Jha was Secretary, DEA (Department of Economic Affairs in the Ministry of Finance).

The trial court and the Supreme Court have already ruled that Chidambaram was prima facie not involved in the criminal case against the Marans and the Sun group. Meanwhile, in a fresh development on 2 April 2015, the enforcement directorate (in the finance ministry) attached assets worth Rs 742.58 crore held by the Maran brothers and Kalanithi’s wife Kavery under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. On 22 August, the Supreme Court stayed the enforcement directorate’s move to provisionally attach assets of the Sun TV group in this case.

Dayanidhi has accused the CBI of using “third degree tactics” to get former Sun TV employees like Saxena to depose against him (Ravishankar 2015). He has accused the CBI of framing him to “please an RSS ideologue from Tamil Nadu”—the reference is to chartered accountant and journalist Swaminathan Gurumurthy, convenor of the Swadeshi Jagaran Manch, which is affiliated to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, and who first wrote about the telephone exchange scam in 2011. Dayanidhi has also accused a “father and son duo” of trying to bring him down in order to destroy the DMK—the veiled reference in this instance is to Chidambaram and his son Karti (Ravishankar 2015). Dayanidhi has predictably also alleged that AIADMK head and Chief Minister Jayalalithaa has carried on a “witch-hunt” against him and his family.

The 2G Telecom Scam

The Marans are being sought to be implicated in the second-generation (2G) telecom spectrum scandal at the centre of which was A Raja who gave out 122 telecom licences ostensibly on a firstcome-first-served basis, 85 of them to companies which “suppressed facts, disclosed incomplete information and submitted fictitious documents” to the DoT to obtain access to scarce spectrum. Raja was forced to resign as telecom minister, taken into custody in February 2011 and kept behind bars for 15 months. A year later, in February 2012, the Supreme Court cancelled all 122 licences that had been issued during his tenure as minister.

M K Kanimozhi (daughter of Karunanidhi and the Marans’ cousin), referred to by the CBI as the “active brain” and 20% owner of Kalaignar TV, was accused of working closely with Raja. She and Raja have been accused of getting DB Realty promoter Shahid Balwa to route Rs 200 crore into the company that owns Kalaignar TV. Like Raja, she too had to spend more than six months behind bars before she was released on bail in November 2011. Dayanidhi has been accused by the CBI of being involved in this criminal case under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Former chairman of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Pradip Baijal has alleged that former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had asked him to “cooperate” with the then Telecom Minister Dayanidhi Maran who warned him of “serious consequences” if he recommended the granting of unified licences. This has been alleged by Pradip Baijal, a former offi cer of the Indian Administrative Service, in his self-published book (2015). He has also alleged that after a routine meeting in 2004, Tata told him that Dayanidhi had “threatened” him with dire consequences if he did not accept the merger of the DTH firm Tata Sky with Sun TV. “Looking back, I believe he (Tata) probably mentioned this to me to assess whether I, as a broadcasting regulator, would try to follow Dayanidhi Maran’s instructions to damage the new Tata Sky DTH channel,” he wrote.

Dayanidhi Maran’s role in the 2G scam goes back earlier. In February 2006, five days after Manmohan Singh created a group of ministers (GOM) (comprising the ministers of defence, finance, home, parliamentary affairs and telecom) to look into allocation and pricing of spectrum, Maran wrote to the former Prime Minister (Khetan and Kirpal 2011):

You may recall my meeting with you on 1st February 2006 when we had inter-alia discussed the issue of the Group of Ministers relating to the vacation of spectrum by defence. You had kindly assured me that the Terms of Reference of the GoM would be drawn up exactly the way we wanted, which was to focus only on the issue of vacation of spectrum. I am, however, surprised to note that the GoM as constituted has much wider Terms of Reference, some of which I feel impinge upon the work normally to be carried out by the ministry itself. I shall be grateful if you could kindly instruct the concerned to modify the Terms of References suggested by us which are enclosed.

The then Prime Minister had apparently decided that a GoM would be involved in the exercise of spectrum pricing and allocation, but later Maran “forced” or “persuaded” him to rescind the decision. Manmohan Singh has gone on record saying he did nothing to enrich himself.

Competition and Corruption

The fallout of all these charges is that the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) under Rajnath Singh has sought to deny the Sun group security clearance for its TV channels and radio stations by revoking its broadcast licences from December 2015. The group has also been sought to be prevented by the government from participating in the auction for licences to set up FM radio stations. However, what is especially interesting is that another ministry in the Narendra Modi government, that is, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B) headed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, has opposed the MHA’s decision to revoke the Sun group’s broadcasting licences.

The I&B Ministry’s position has been endorsed by AG Rohatgi who has argued that a television channel or radio station cannot be denied the right to operate on grounds that criminal cases are pending against its owners. Denial of broadcast licences, according to him, violates the fundamental right of freedom of speech and expression guaranteed by Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution. Rohatgi also referred to the right of viewers to receive information as part of their fundamental right to free expression and described the MHA’s move as “illegal.” Whereas the government accepts the AG’s opinion under most circumstances, technically it is not obliged to do so.

The MHA has stuck to its stand that corruption has often been found to be a precursor to threats to the country’s economic security. The MHA further stated that it might reconsider its decision if the ownership of the network changed or if the criminal charges against the owners of the Sun group are dismissed by courts of law.

Not surprisingly, the Maran brothers have strongly protested the MHA’s moves. Kalanithi Maran wrote a letter on 11 June 2015 to Rajnath Singh denying all allegations of corruption against the Sun group. He questioned the “duplicity” of the MHA, citing other TV and radio companies which have similar cases pending against them but are allowed to operate freely, without being termed a security hazard. He also stated that Sun had been “singled out” by the MHA and pointed to 17 instances of “criminal/economic offences/ cases/investigations that are pending against various media companies or its directors/promotes/shareholders.”

Among these are CNN IBN and IBN 7 owned by Reliance Industries, Mavis Satcom, which runs Jaya TV, Alliance Broadcasting which runs News 7, the TV channel from Odisha Kamyab TV (whose head is allegedly linked to the Saradha scandal), Positiv Television, which broadcasts Focus News and is linked to former Congress Member of Parliament Naveen Jindal, Zee Media Corporation, BIG FM and BIG TV of the Anil Dhirubhai Ambani group, Multi Screen Media which runs Sony TV and Set Max besides groups like Sahara and Bharti Airtel.

Sun’s competitors think otherwise. “Kal Cables had the monopoly throughout Tamil Nadu for many years,” says P V Kalyanasundaram, Managing Director, Polymer TV, adding that he had to go to the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal to obtain an order instructing Kal Cables to beam its signals. “They (Kal Cables) still blocked our signals. So why are political parties talking about freedom of speech now?” he asked (Ramasubramanian 2015).

Certain media groups have indirectly come out in support of the Sun group’s position. The Economic Times (published by the Times group) argued on 16 July 2015 that “it is wrong to conflate a business with its shareholders” and claimed that the “notion that Sun’s television or radio channels threaten national security is, on the face of it, ridiculous.” It added:

True, a probe is on, against the promoters, the Marans, for multiple abuses of their political clout as powerful UPA allies. But this is no reason to take Sun off air. If every business in India, whose principal shareholders are under investigation for some economic offence or the other, is to be halted, the wheels of commerce in the country would grind to a halt. If an offence is established against the Marans, they can be penalised with fines or imprisonment. In an extreme case, they can be made to divest their holding in the media business as well. But shutting down their media business, without any charge being established as yet, is an attack on media freedom. It is also anti-competitive and could result in undue business gain for some other player in the Tamil media market. The government’s action against Sun smacks of extreme high-handedness.

An important issue that has been thrown up in these series of episodes relating to the Sun group is the implication of the absence of restrictions on crossmedia ownership in India. Like the Times group, the Sun group has holdings and interests across different media and is in addition linked to a political party. However, there is no regulatory oversight on its activities by a body comparable to the Office of Communications (Ofcom) of the United Kingdom or the Federal Communications Commission of the United States. If the Sun group was operating in these countries, it may never have been able to expand in the way it has in India.

The other aspect of the developments concerning the Sun group is the way in which these have highlighted the unethical nexus between politics, business and the media. The fact that Jaitley as I&B Minister has openly disagreed with the MHA headed by Rajnath Singh and expressed concern about the negative impact of the MHA’s decision on the broadcasting sector has led to speculation that the dispute can be resolved only by the intervention of Prime Minister Modi. The political compulsions of the BJP to keep the AIADMK led by Jayalalithaa on its side on specific issues should also be kept in mind. The business rivals of the Sun group who have allegedly been at the receiving end of Marans’ bullying tactics are working hard to grab their pound of flesh while the DMK is out of power. The legal outcomes of the charges against the Marans are being closely watched.

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The writing and research assistance of Anuradha Bhattacharjee and Insiyah Vahanvaty are gratefully acknowledged.
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References

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