New Delhi: A prosecution witness in 2G money laundering case told the court here on Friday that India Cements, which owns the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) team of Indian Premier League (IPL), paid Rs. 60 crore to Kalaignar TV for advertisements in 2011 and defended the same as a legitimate deal.
India Cements vice president R. Muralidhar told Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Special Judge O.P. Saini that he joined the company in May 2010 and the advertisement was release in 2011 for the promotion of various brands of India Cements and its IPL Franchise CSK.
Former telecom minister A. Raja, DMK parliamentarian Kanimozhi, DMK chief M. Karunanidhi’s wife Dayalu Ammal and Kalaignar TV’s Sharad Kumar and P. Amirthan with others are facing trial in the case.
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has alleged that around Rs.200 crore were paid by the promoters of Swan Telecom, using their group firm Dynamix Realty, to Kalaignar TV via Kusegaon and Cineyug in the garb of a legitimate financial transaction.
“An amount of Rs. 60 crore was paid to Kalaignar TV (P) Limited in 2011. The purpose of payment of Rs. 60 crore was to advertise our products, that is, cement, and also publicise our franchise Chennai Super Kings (CSK) during the IPL period in order to increase the sale of cement as well as to increase the gate collections of CSK,” the witness said on being asked by ED counsel N.K. Matta.
Muralidhar further deposed that this was the first time that his company had entered into a long-term contract with Kalaignar TV. “We have not entered into long-term contract with any other TV channel,” he said.
He told court that the…company did not take any loan for this payment and He added that he was treated very cordially during his examination by Enforcement Directorate officials during the investigation.
He also defended the move of his Company stating that his company did not commit any illegality by executing the advertising contract with Kalaignar TV. He further added that the company benefited hugely from the media exposure through the advertising in Kalaignar TV, as IPL is a popular cricketing event in India and CSK became one of the most favoured team among cricket lovers through such multimedia campaigns.
Deposition of Indian Cements supports the defence of Kalaignar TV that they have returned the 200 Cr loan (with interest) taken from Kusegaon and Cineyug based on the advertisement revenues generated from such kind of large scale deals with various advertisers.