Karunanidhi family

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Karunanidhi family
Current regionIndia Tamil Nadu, India
MembersM. Karunanidhi
M. K. Muthu
M. K. Stalin
M. K. Alagiri
M. K. Tamilarasu
M. K. Selvi
Murasoli Maran
M. K. Kanimozhi
Kalanidhi Maran
Dayanidhi Maran
Udhayanidhi Stalin
Dayanidhi Azhagiri
Arulnidhi Tamilarasu
Estate(s)Gopalapuram House, Gopalapuram, Chennai
CIT Colony House, Chennai

M. Karunanidhi has been Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu for five terms and the DMK party leader from 1969.

Karunanidhi's grandnephew Dayanidhi Maran has been the union cabinet minister for two terms, once as a Minister of Information and Technology and once as a Minister of Textiles. One of Karunanidhi's sons, M. K. Stalin, has been a four-time MLA in Tamil Nadu Legislative assembly and a one-time deputy Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu; another son, M. K. Alagiri, is the Minister of Chemicals in the central cabinet and also the co-ordinator for South Tamil Nadu for DMK. His daughter Kanimozhi is a nominated Member of the Parliament in Rajya Sabha. His grandnephew Kalanidhi Maran is the owner of the Sun Network, the second largest TV network in India and also Sun Pictures, a Tamil movie production company. The fourth generation of the family comprising Arivunithi, Dayanidhi Azhagiri, Udhayanidhi Stalin and Arulnithi are involved in the Tamil cinema industry.

The large presence of Karunanidhi's family members both in the central government and state government has led to accusations of political nepotism.[2][3] Two of the family members, Kanimozhi and Dayanidhi Maran, had been charged by Central Bureau of Investigation for their alleged involvement in the 2G spectrum case. However, CBI failed to prove charges against the two, and the Delhi High Court acquitted both the accused.[4] The fourth generation of the family is accused of using political clout in their favour in the Tamil cinema industry.[5]


File picture of Karunanidhi

Muthuvel Karunanidhi (born Dakshinamurthi, 3 June 1924 - 7 August 2018)[6] was the head of Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK),[7] a Dravidian political party in the state of Tamil Nadu. He has been the leader of the DMK since the death of its founder, C. N. Annadurai, in 1969,[8] though the party had leading stalwarts in Nedunchezhian, E. V. K. Sampath, K. A. Mathiazhagan, Nanjil K. Manoharan and K. Anbazhagan, who were called Aim perum Thalaivargal meaning five great leaders.[9] He has served as chief minister five times (1969–71, 1971–76, 1989–91, 1996–2001 and 2006–2011). He holds the record of winning his seat in every election in which he has participated in a political career spanning more than 60 years.[10][11][12] He is also a playwright and screenwriter in Tamil cinema.

He married three times; his wives are the late Padmavathy, Dayalu and Rajathi.[13][14][15]

He has four sons, namely M. K. Muthu, M. K. Alagiri, M. K. Stalin, and M. K. Tamilarasu and two daughters, Selvi and Kanimozhi. M. K. Muthu, his eldest son, was born to Padmavathy, who died early. Azhagiri, Stalin, Selvi and Tamilarasu were born to Dayalu, while Kanimozhi is the only daughter from his third wife, Rajathi.

Murasoli Maran[edit]

Murasoli Maran (Tamil: முரசொலி மாறன்) (17 August 1934 – 23 November 2003) was an important leader of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) party and the nephew of M. Karunanidhi. A Member of Parliament for 36 years, he was made a Union Minister in three separate central governments, in charge of Urban Development in the V.P. Singh government, Industry in the Gowda and Gujral governments, and finally Commerce and Industry under Vajpayee.[16] Apart from being a politician, Maran was a journalist and scriptwriter for films too.[17] He was the editor of the DMK party paper, Murasoli and hence got the title appended to his name.


Allegations of nepotism[edit]

M.K. Stalin, son of Karunanidhi

DMK has been accused by opponents, by some members of the party, and by other political observers of trying to promote nepotism and start a political dynasty along the lines of the Nehru-Gandhi family. Vaiko, who quit the DMK, has been the most vocal. Political observers say that Vaiko was sidelined as he was seen as a threat to M.K. Stalin and other family members.

Karunanidhi's nephew, the late Murasoli Maran, was a Union Minister; however, it has been pointed out that he was in politics long before Karunanidhi became the Chief Minister in 1969. He was arrested several times, including in the Anti-Hindi agitations in 1965. He was asked to contest the by-election for South Madras in 1967 and the nomination papers were signed by Rajaji, Annadurai and Mohammed Ismail (Quaid-e-Millath), demonstrating that his political career was not built entirely on his relation to Karunanidhi.[18]

Many political opponents and DMK party senior leaders have been critical of the rise of M. K. Stalin in the party. But some of the party men have pointed out that Stalin has come up on his own. He has faced a lot of hardship since 1975, when he was jailed under the Maintenance of Internal Security Act (MISA) and was beaten up in jail so brutally during the Emergency that a fellow DMK party prisoner died trying to save him.[19] Stalin was an MLA in 1989 and 1996 when his father Karunanidhi was the Chief Minister, but he was not inducted into the Cabinet. He became Chennai's 44th mayor and its first directly elected mayor in 1996. It was only in his fourth term as MLA that he was made a Minister in the Karunanidhi cabinet and then in 2009 was made the Deputy Chief Minister.

Karunanidhi has been accused of helping Murasoli Maran's son Kalanidhi Maran, who runs Sun Network, India's second largest television network. According to Forbes, Kalanidhi is among India's richest 20, with $2.9 billion.[20] Again commentators say that he raised himself into the position on his own merit and even Karunanidhi's sons have achieved nothing compared to him which has been a cause of friction between them. His channels have been the mouth organ of the DMK party (until recent time) and balanced the Jaya TV of the AIADMK.

Another son of Maran's, Dayanidhi Maran, is a former Union Minister for Communications and IT portfolio, not broadcasting ministry, which is responsible for TV networks. Dayanidhi Maran was withdrawn from the IT and Communications portfolio at Center (he was a Union Minister for IT and Communications) because Dinakaran survey poll controversy. He was later given the MP seat in the 2009 general elections from DMK party and subsequently became the Minister of Textiles in the union government.

The Dinakaran newspaper case was handed over to the CBI. But the District and Sessions court acquitted all the 17 accused in that case.[21] So far, the case has not been appealed in a higher court to identify and punish the perpetrators of the crime.

Karunanidhi's daughter Kanimozhi is a nominated member of parliament in Rajya Sabha.

Marans vs Azhagiri[edit]

In 2006 May, Dinakaran, the newspaper run by Kalanidhi Maran ran into a controversy when it published the results of a series of opinion polls which showed M. K. Stalin having more approval (70%) than his elder brother M. K. Azhagiri (2%) as the political heir of Karunanidhi. It also showed others as 20%, possibly indicating Dayanidhi Maran and Kanimozhi. The Madurai office of Dinakaran was fire bombed by supporters of Alagiri and three employees were killed[22] The Sun TV office in Madurai was also attacked by the perpetrators.[23] A day after the incident, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi came to Chennai for felicitating Karunanidhi for 50 years in legislative assembly. Dayanidhi Maran, who usually accompanies Karunanidhi on every function, discarded the event as a mark of protest. On 13 May, the DMK administrative committee empowered Karunanidhi to remove Dayanidhi from the party. This subsequently led to his resignation from the central ministry.[24] Karunanidhi family started Kalaignar TV to counter Sun TV of the Marans that started focusing on opposition leaders who were vociferous on Alagiri and also covering the 2G Spectrum case on minister A Raja, the DMK minister replacing Dayanidhi in the Union IT ministry.[25] There were several attempts of reconciliation by the Marans, with two public meeting, once during Stalin's birthday in March 2008 and other during May when Karunanidhi was discharged from a Chennai hospital having been treated for neck and back pain.[26] But when the Marans went to greet Karunanidhi on his 85th birthday on 3 Jun 2008, they were made to wait for an hour before finally denying entry.[26] The family later reconciled with the efforts of Selvi and M K Stalin. While the reason for reconciliation is not known, it was rumoured that the family reconciled to keep the third wife, Rajathi and her daughter Kanimozhi away from the family - that Kanimozhi was missing in the family reunion picture supported this argument.[27]

2G Spectrum Case[edit]

As per the chargesheet filed by CBI, Kanimozhi has 20% stake in her family owned Kalaignar TV, her step-mother Dayalu owns 60% stake in the same channel.[28] CBI alleges that Kanimozhi was an "active brain" behind the channel's operations[28] and she worked along with former telecom minister A. Raja to get DB Realty promoter Shahid Balwa to circuitously route 2 billion (US$29 million) to Kalaignar TV.[29] According to CBI, Kanimozhi was in regular touch with A Raja regarding launching of Kalaignar TV channel and its other pending works.[29] CBI alleges that A Raja was further pursuing the cause of Kalaignar TV not only for getting registration of the company from Ministry of Information and Broadcasting but also for getting it in the DTH operator TATA Sky's bouquet.[29] The charges levelled against her are criminal conspiracy to cause criminal breach of trust by a public servant, criminal conspiracy under section 120-B, cheating under section 420 & forgery under sections 468 and 471. Booked under the Prevention of Corruption Act.[30][31] She was taken into custody (arrested) by CBI on 20 May 2011.[32][33] and granted bail on 28 November 2011 after spending 188 days in judicial custody.[34][35] As of May 2012, trial is being conducted in Special CBI Court.[36]

Dayanidhi Maran was forced to resign from his Textiles Ministry in the central government on account corruption charges levelled against him in the 2G spectrum case.[37] Dayanidhi has been accused of criminal conspiracy by the CBI on charges under Prevention of Corruption Act.[38] An FIR or formal complaint has been filed against Dayanidhi and his brother, Kalanithi Maran, the owner of Sun Network in Tamil Nadu.[37] The homes and offices of the Marans in Delhi and Chennai were raided on 10 October 2011 in connection with the CBI's efforts to prove that when he was telecom minister, Dayanidhi misused his office to help an entrepreneur from Malaysia named T Ananda Krishnan to acquire one of India's biggest telecoms, Aircel.[37] The CBI alleged that in return, Mr Ananda Krishnan invested more than Rs.6 billion in Dayanidhi's brother Kalanidhi owned Sun Network.[37]

Azhagiri Vs Stalin[edit]

The issue of succession of party and the political leadership has always been oriented towards Azhagiri and Stalin, the brothers and apparent political heirs of Karunanidhi. The general council of 3 February 2012 fuelled heated debates on who should be the successor and finally lead to a conclusion of Karunanidhi remaining the head, putting the topic of succession to a temporary end.[39] Azhagiri garners support from Southern Tamil Nadu, which is termed as his political stronghold. The 2011 assembly election drubbing put his power under scanner with the party losing most in the southern parts of Tamil Nadu.[39] Stalin was seen as the natural heir after he was given the post of Mayor of Chennai Corporation during October 2001 and subsequently the Deputy Chief Minister post of Tamil Nadu government on 29 May 2009. The survey poll conducted by Dinakaran newspaper of the Marans created further feud in the family. In a wikileaks revealed cable sent on 9 July 2009, the then US counsel General Andrew T Simkin predicted that M K Azhagiri will contest with Stalin for power once his father leaves the scene, but will be finally prevailed by M K Stalin, who is more acceptable.[40] It also touched upon Azhagiri's noteirty and pugnacious tactics for his alleged involvement in Ta Krittinan murder case, for which he was arrested in 2003 and also on the attack of Dinakaran newspaper office in 2007.[40]

Dominance in Tamil film industry[edit]

There are allegations on a large set of family members of Karunanidhi entering into Tamil film distribution and production on account of political backup.[5] "Karunanidhi has used his political might to thrust his entire family on Tamil cinema," said Thuglak editor Cho Ramaswamy, in one of the interviews that fuelled a retort from Karunanidhi, "If Prithvi Raj Kapoor’s family is in films till today, if Rajnikanth’s daughter can produce movies and his son-in-law Dhanush can act, what is wrong if my grandsons Kalanidhi, Udayanidhi, Dayanidhi, Arlunidhi and Arivunidihi are into film-making? It is just another conspiracy by the threaded class (Brahmins) because I work for the Dravidian community" after laying the foundation stone for a colony for film workers on 23 August 2010.[5] The feeling of political might is supported by the production of films by family members starting ventures, leaving Sun Pictures during the DMK government during 2006-2011.[5] The distributors also complained of level-playing field with the political clout involved in distribution of films.[5] .

List of Posts currently held by the family[edit]

Family Member Governance post Years
Karunanidhi DMK Party Leader 1969–2018
Karunanidhi Member of Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly 1957–2018
M. K. Stalin DMK Party Leader 2018– Present
M. K. Stalin President of Youth Wing, DMK 2012–2018
M. K. Stalin Member of Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly 1989,1996–present
M. K. Stalin Leader of Opposition, Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly 2016–present
M. K. Alagiri Member of Parliament 2009–2014
Dayanidhi Maran Member of Parliament 2019–present
Kanimozhi Member of Parliament, lok Sabha[41] 2019–present

Organisations related to the family[edit]

Organization Family Member Post Years Notes
Kalaignar TV Dayalu Owner 2008–present 60% share holder[28]
Kanimozhi Owner 2008–present 20% share holder[28]
Westgate Logistics Private Ltd Rajathe Ammal & Kanimozhi Owner 2004–present Supporting and auxiliary transport activities; activities of travel agencies[42][43]
Sun Group Kalanithi Maran Chairman and MD 1993–present Group of Kal Media Services Pvt. Ltd.

32 TV Channels across Indian languages
45 Radio stations across all India
2 daily newspapers in Tamil language
4 weekly magazines in Tamil language
Sun Pictures - a leading film production and distribution company
Sun Direct - one of India's leading DTH companies, also first to carry HD channels in India
Sumangali Cable Vision (SCV) - Multi System Operators (MSO)
Sun 18 south - to distribute its channels
Kal Airways Pvt. Ltd. Spicejet
Sunrisers Hyderabad, IPL(Indian premiar league)Cricket Team

Cloud Nine Movies Dayanidhi Azhagiri Owner[44] 2008–present Tamil film production and distribution company
Red Giant Movies Udhayanidhi Stalin Owner[45] 2008–present Tamil film production and distribution company
Mohana Movies M K Tamilarasu Owner 2008–present Tamil film production company
Daya Cyber Park Private Limited, Madurai Azhagiri Family[46] Owner 2006–present Cyber Park
Inbox 1305 Kiruthiga Uthayanithi Owner, Editor[47] 2008–present The Week Magazine
Nefertari ---- Owner[48] 2012–present Event Management Company
Tamil Mayyam Kanimozhi Director[49] Non-governmental Organization

Declared assets of the political members of the family[edit]

Family Member Assets Worth (in INR) As on Date Notes
M.K. Stalin and Durga 220 million[50] 22 March 2011 Rs422,8.00,000 worth of movable property which includes fixed deposit, joint account with wife and life insurance.[50] The approximate value of their immovable property based on market value was Rs169,30,00,000.[50]
Karunanidhi, Dayalu and Rajathi 411.3 million[51] 24 March 2011 Karunanidhi has moveable assets of around Rs.49.30 million, Rs.153.40 million for his first wife, Dayalu and Rs.20.83 million for his second wife Rajathi.[51] Karunanidhi has an income of Rs.3.70 million per annum Rs.6.40 million for Dayalu and 16.70 million for Rajathi.[51]
M K Azhagiri, Kanthi Azhagiri 192 million[46] 6 August 2011 Azhagiri owns 19 acres and 63 cents of agricultural land, 1 acre and 82 cents plus 23,278 sq ft non-agricultural land, a 20 cent plot, flats in Chennai and Madurai, 400 million in fixed deposit and 13.9 million in his savings account.[46]
Kanimozhi 845 million[41] 4 June 2007 She owns fixed deposits worth Rs658 million, a commercial building in Anna Salai worth Rs16.1 million, shares worth Rs35,00,00,000 in a company called Westgate Logistics, gold and diamond jewellery worth Rs36,10,00,000 and a car, Toyota Camry worth Rs18,70,000.[41]
Dayanidhi Maran 29.4 billion[52]


3 September 2011 He and his wife have shares in RIL, Reliance Communications, RNRL and DK Enterprises.[52][53]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ https://www.deccanchronicle.com/lifestyle/viral-and-trending/090818/kalaignars-telugu-connect.html#vuukle-emote
  2. ^ Isaac, Anna (8 August 2018). "Nepotism or survival? Why Karunanidhi chose family when it came to New Delhi". The News Minute. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
  3. ^ "Karunanidhi cleared of corruption charges". Rediff.com. 17 April 1998.
  4. ^ "2G Case Judgement". The Hindu. PTI. 21 March 2018. Retrieved 7 August 2018.
  5. ^ a b c d e "Film clan under fire, writer Karuna turns fighter". The Telegraph. 24 August 2010. Retrieved 4 June 2012.
  6. ^ "Karunanidhi's Kutumbam". The Indian Express
  7. ^ "DMK's Official Homepage-Chennai-Tamilnadu-India 800x600 screen resolution". Dmk.in. 9 December 2011. Retrieved 24 January 2012.
  8. ^ "Biography in official party website".
  9. ^ Ramaswamy 2007, p. 61
  10. ^ "Karunanidhi wins for record 11th time" - Sify.com
  11. ^ "I am not a rich person:TN CM Karunanidhi proclaims". Asian Tribune. 2 December 2010. Retrieved 24 January 2012.
  12. ^ [1]
  13. ^ In South India, more the merrier - The Times of India 2 May 2006
  14. ^ Rama, Ravana battle again in TN - Rediff
  15. ^ "In South India, more the merrier". The Times Of India. 2 May 2006.
  16. ^ "An Obituary titled 'A man of many parts' by T. S. Subramanian for Frontline Magazine". Retrieved 9 September 2006.
  17. ^ "Editorial from the Hindu newspaper on 25 November 2003". Retrieved 9 September 2006.
  18. ^ Maran – the eyes and ears of DMK in Delhi Archived 17 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  19. ^ Jagadheesan, L R (1 November 1999). "Politics: Special Series; M K Stalin". India Times. Retrieved 9 August 2018.
  20. ^ "The World's Billionaires Page 11 of 41". Forbes. 10 March 2010.
  21. ^ The Hindu : All acquitted in Dinakaran case
  22. ^ "TN: 2 killed as Dinakaran office set afire". Rediff. 9 May 2007.
  23. ^ Phandis 2009, p. 145
  24. ^ "DMK kicks out Dayanidhi, brings in Raja as Minister". CNN-IBN. 15 May 2007.
  25. ^ Outlook, Volume XLVIII, No. 51, p. 15
  26. ^ a b Outlook Volume XLVIII, No. 28, p. 18
  27. ^ "Karuna's Kutumbam". Indian Express. 31 May 2009.
  28. ^ a b c d "Kanimozhi 'active brain' behind Kalaignar TV operations: CBI". Economic Times.
  29. ^ a b c "Kanimozhi worked with Raja to get Balwa to route Rs 200 cr to Kalaignar TV: CBI". Economic Times.
  30. ^ "Charges Against Raja & others". NDTV. 22 October 2011. Retrieved 26 April 2012.
  31. ^ "2G case: Charges framed against Raja, Kanimozhi and 15 other accused". Times of India.
  32. ^ "DMK's sun sets completely; Kanimozhi arrested in 2G case". One India news.
  33. ^ "2G scam: Kanimozhi arrested, sent to Tihar jail". Times of India.
  34. ^ "Kani gets bail from HC after six-month stay in Tihar jail". Indian Express.
  35. ^ "Bail for Kanimozhi, four others". The Hindu.
  36. ^ "Form special court for 2G trial: SC tells govt". The Statesman. Archived from the original on 12 January 2013. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  37. ^ a b c d "Dayanidhi Maran quits, DMK will stand by him says Karunanidhi". NDTV. 7 July 2011. Retrieved 4 June 2012.
  38. ^ "2G scam: Dayanidhi Maran raided, FIR charges him with criminal conspiracy". NDTV. 10 October 2011. Retrieved 4 June 2012.
  39. ^ a b "Trouble haunts DMK: It's Alagiri vs Stalin". The Daily Pioneer. 16 February 2011. Retrieved 4 June 2012.
  40. ^ a b "WikiLeaks: Alagiri 'pugnacious', Stalin 'thuggish'". The Indian Express. 4 September 2011. Retrieved 3 June 2012.
  41. ^ a b c PTI (1 June 2007). "Kanimozhi files papers, assets worth Rs 8.45 cr". The Indian Express. Retrieved 4 June 2012.
  42. ^ "Net worth of TN's top leaders runs into more than Rs 130 cr". டைம்ஸ் ஆப் இந்தியா. Retrieved 28 December 2018.
  43. ^ "WEST GATE LOGISTICS PRIVATE LIMITED". zaubacorp.com. Retrieved 28 December 2018.
  44. ^ "Ajith's 50th movie by Goutham Menon!". IndiaGlitz. 2009. Retrieved 25 December 2009.
  45. ^ "Udhayanidhi Stalin - Filmography, Movies, Photos, Biography, Wallpapers, Videos, Fan Club". Popcorn.oneindia.in. Retrieved 2 May 2011.
  46. ^ a b c PTI (6 August 2011). "Why a restless Azhagiri is itching to get back to his temple town". The financial World. Retrieved 4 June 2012.
  47. ^ "Inbox 1305 Our crew". inbox1305.com. Retrieved 4 June 2012.
  48. ^ "Top celebs launch Anusha Dhayanidhi's Nefertari". behindwoods.com. 16 April 2012. Retrieved 4 June 2012.
  49. ^ Singh, Onkar (15 December 2010). "CBI raids Radia, Raja's friends; claims breakthough [sic]". Rediff.com. Retrieved 12 June 2011.
  50. ^ a b c PTI (22 March 2011). "MK Stalin has assets over Rs 1200 crore". ibnlive. Retrieved 4 June 2012.
  51. ^ a b c PTI (24 March 2011). "Karunanidhi, two wives own moveable assets worth Rs. 41.13 cr". NDTV. Retrieved 4 June 2012.
  52. ^ a b Special Correspondent (3 September 2011). "Prime Minister, Cabinet declare their assets; Kamal Nath is the richest". NDTV. Retrieved 4 June 2012.
  53. ^ a b PMO (3 September 2011). "Declaration of Assets and Liabilities of members of Lok Sabha" (PDF). pmindia.nic. Archived from the original (PDF) on 19 June 2012. Retrieved 4 June 2012. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)