Chennai, Jan 19: A day after Union Minister Arun Jaitley met AIADMK chief Jayalalithaa, political parties in Tamil Nadu, including DMK and NDA ally PMK, today questioned its propriety at a time when her appeal against her conviction in an assets case is pending in the Karnataka High Court.
NDA ally PMK and Tamil Nadu Congress Committee President E V K S Elangovan also took exception to the meeting. In the first high-profile visit after Jayalalithaa was let out on bail in the wealth case, Jaitley had last night called on her at her Poes Garden residence.
The 40-minute meeting, described by AIDMK as a courtesy call, came in the wake of the Centre's move to drum up support for ordinances, including coal block allocation in a likely Joint Parliamentary session.
PMK founder leader Dr S Ramadoss, who has been critical of the Narendra Modi government on several issues, said the meeting gave rise to suspicion.
"Why should a central minister meet a convicted person?It is highly condemnable and gives rise to suspicion...Centre should explain," he told reporters in Salem.
Elangovan accused Jaitley of "trampling political ethics" by calling on Jayalalithaa. He alleged that the BJP had been 'masquerading' as an anti-graft party and stands exposed now.
Karunanidhi slammed Jaitley's comment that it was a "courtesy call" and quoted a Tamil proverb to ask if there was any difference between such a comment and a plain lie.
Citing some news reports that the meeting took place with the concurrence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he sought to know, "if Modi too was a party to all these things."
Referring to Jayalalithaa's meeting with Jaitley after BJP came to power at the Centre, his visit here yesterday and withdrawal of prosecution by tax authorities after allowing a plea by her to compound offences relating to non-filing of IT returns for a particular period, he asked, "Will this not lead to suspicion among people when they link such happenings?"
At a time when "people's suspicions" on the tax issue have still not been cleared, the meeting between the two proved right the phrase the "cat is out of the bag", Karunanidhi alleged.