Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Scam-tainted Raja, Sadiq had humble beginnings

Barely 12 kilometres away from Perambalur town, surrounded by lush green hillocks is a quaint and scenic village called Velur. Almost anyone here knows the directions to the “minister’s home” that is located close to an Amman temple. When this reporter went there on Sunday evening, his elder brother Kaliyaperumal was at home and claimed to be “unwell”. He did not want to speak to reporters.

Andimuthu Raja was the eighth son of the family and had a modest childhood. He grew up with three elder brothers and four sisters. After finishing his schooling in Perambalur district, he went out to pursue to study further.

“When he returned home, he practised at the Perambalur court where we used to call him the Marathadi Vakkil. From being a marthadi vakkil, he has now become Mr Million” said an advocate and former friend of the minister. “Please do not quote me. And you probably know why?”

At that time, Sadiq Pasha used to be a door-to-door textile salesman. When not attending to cases at the court, Mr Raja and his advocate friends used to stay at the Rasi Lodge in Perambalur which was their makeshift office. “Sadiq used to come there to sell his clothes at the lodge and their friendship probably began there,” his former colleagues said. Over the next two decades, Mr Raja’s growth in politics was tremendous.

He was soon elected as a MP and soon grew to a minister in the Union Cabinet. Now, he is accused of swindling `1.76 lakh crores. Locals here claim that Mr Raja did make significant contribution to Perambalur during his first term as an MP. “He used his clout to get some state projects to Perambalur,” said Mr Tada Periasamy, a prominent BJP politician.

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