PTR responds: Audio clip with purported comments on DMK first family ‘malicious, fabricated’

'Publicly available technical analysis of the alleged clip clearly shows it is not authentic,' PTR said in a statement.

ByVinodh Arulappan

Published Apr 22, 2023 | 11:27 PM Updated Apr 22, 2023 | 11:28 PM

PTR Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu Finance Minister Palanivel Thiaga Rajan on Saturday, 22 April, described as “malicious, fabricated” the viral audio clip in which he is purported to have commented on corruption in the DMK’s first family.

Attaching two technical analyses of the clip, Thiaga Rajan, popularly called PTR, put up a two-page statement on his Twitter handle to assert that anyone could create such clips with the help of technology.

“Please note that publicly available technical analysis of the alleged clip clearly shows it is not authentic,” the statement said.

“With the ability to create fabricated and/or machine-generated clips using advanced technology that is easily accessible, we should not be surprised to see more audio and even video clips in the coming days and months with ever-more malicious content,” he added.

Also read: Annamalai releases ‘DMK Files’; party calls it a joke

‘Proponent of free speech’

PTR audio analysis

Technical analysis of the audio tape released by PTR. (Twitter)

Describing himself as a “strong proponent of free speech”, PTR said he has never bothered to react to the many allegations levelled against him on social media as he believed that “offering rebuttals to propaganda in today’s post-truth social media is like providing oxygen to a dangerous fire”.

However, he said, “having failed at painting me as a villain in the public sphere, there seems to be a change of strategy: To paint me as a lone crusader, a reluctant whistle-blower, a pseudo-martyr” by portraying him as being concerned about corruption in the DMK.

This, he said, had forced him to react to the allegation, especially as the “social media post has now been re-broadcast to lamentable proportions (and) has been repeated and amplified by unscrupulous political players”.

He also said he was “distressed to find that traditional media” was also reporting on “such fabricated, malicious third-hand information”. ,

The statement further said: “I want to reiterate here that whatever I am, and whatever I have done in public life is because of my leader DMK President and Honourable Chief Minister MK Stalin and no malicious attempts to divide us will ever succeed.”

While saying this would be his only statement on the audio clip and that he would “go back to ignoring such malicious slander”, PTR, however, warned that if such “slander (were) to cross the threshold of
maximum tolerance, I will be forced to take legal action, even though I realise that it will take months to prosecute, and such action will provide further publicity to outright lies and deception.”

Also read: DMK, Annamalai in ₹500 crore defamation slugfest

The audio clip

The audio clip first surfaced on 19 April when Savukku Shankar, a whistleblower with a prominent social media presence, shared it on his social media page.

The clip was subsequently amplified by BJP and other anti-DMK handles, especially by the state president of the saffron party K Annamalai, who shared the audio’s English and Tamil transcriptions on Twitter.

Annamalai tweeted that the alleged conversation between the finance minister and a journalist revealed Chief Minister Stalin’s son Udhayanidhi and son-in-law Sabareesan had “accumulated ₹30,000 crore” in a year.

On Saturday, after PTR’s denial, Savukku Shankar said: “I stand by the audio tape I have released. And I am ready to face any probe.”