Chennai: Seizure of unaccounted cash from the factories of Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM) treasurer Chandrasekaran has put the party founder and actor Kamal Haasan in a defensive spot.
Two days ago, Income Tax Department sleuths searched Anitha HealthCare and Anitha Texcot India Pvt Ltd belonging to Chandrasekaran and seized unaccounted cash of Rs 11.5 crore. Besides, the Department found that the companies had an unaccounted income of Rs 80 crore.
For Kamal Haasan, who has been projecting himself as a “clean alternative” to the two Dravidian parties, this could not have come at a worse time than a keenly fought Assembly election.
On Friday, when the actor was confronted by journalists in Coimbatore, about the seizures, he went on the defensive. He claimed that this was “a raid on an individual” and had nothing to do with his party. “There should not be any trial by the media,” he contended. Just days earlier in multiple media interviews, Kamal Haasan had proudly declared that none of his candidates had a criminal record.
He insisted that Chandrasekaran would have been treated as innocent until proven guilty.
Meanwhile, he released the MNM manifesto, which he described as “an organic, living document” with a vision for Tamil Nadu. If voted to power, he promised to establish ‘people’s canteens’ on the lines of Defence Canteen where products will be sold at affordable prices to the common man.
Seeking to differ from the DMK and AIADMK, which have promised monthly honorarium of Rs 1,000 and Rs 1,500 respectively to women heads of families, Haasan said his party would provide skill development to women to enable them earn Rs 10,000 to Rs 15,000 per month. “This is what we call payment to housewives and not doles,” he said.
The actor-politician said his manifesto was not restricted to the current elections but was a vision document with a decade-long time frame and “not a plaster to cover current problems.” He did not believe in freebies such as washing machines or solar stoves announced by the ruling AIADMK. While the MNM opposed the NEET, it would introduce a State Eligibility and Entrance Test (SEET) for admission to medical colleges, he said.