EC Bribery Case Accused Dhinakaran Sent to 5-Day Police Custody
TTV Dhinakaran was arrested along with his aide Mallikarjuna after several hours of questioning by the Delhi Police.
TTV Dhinakaran, accused of bribing an Election Commission official in order to acquire AIADMK’s two-leaves symbol, was sent to five days of police custody on Wednesday, along with his aid Mallikarjuna.
The decision to send them to police custody was announced in a Delhi court presided over by special judge Poonam Chaudhary. The police had apparently asked for a seven-day custody period for the two accused.
The noose tightened around AIADMK (Sasikala) deputy general secretary Dhinakaran with the Delhi Police arresting him late on Tuesday night.
The arrest came after Dhinakaran was interrogated by the Crime Branch of the Delhi Police on Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday for several hours in connection with a case involving alleged attempt to bribe Election Commission official case.
Dhinakaran, his assistant Janardhanan and friend Mallikarjuna were interrogated together multiple times. While TTV and Mallikarjun were arrested by the Delhi police crime branch on Tuesday night, some reports said Janarthan may become a witness in the case.
The arrest came barely hours after special judge Poonam Chaudhary asked Delhi police what action had been taken on the AIADMK leader.
The judge was hearing the Delhi police's request to extend police custody of middleman Sukesh Chandrasekhar.
On Tuesday morning, Sukesh Chandrasekhar, spoke briefly to media persons and said that he was being framed in the case because of his criminal past. He said that he was being made a scapegoat in the case and denied any involvement.
An FIR was registered against Dhinakaran on 17 April by the Delhi Police for allegedly attempting to bribe officials of the Election Commission in order to get the frozen two-leaves symbol allotted to his faction.
The AIADMK (Sasikala) deputy general secretary had flown to Delhi on Saturday after summons was issued to him earlier in the week.
Details of The Case
An FIR was filed against Dhinakaran and one Sukesh Chandrasekar for attempting to influence the ECI.
The FIR against TTV and Sukesh was under various sections of the IPC including 120B (Criminal conspiracy), 170 (impersonating a public servant) and under Section 8 of The Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.
Sources had told TNM that Sukesh had led TTV Dhinakaran to believe that the ECI could be influenced over the two-leaves decision by bribing officials to the tune of Rs 50-60 crore. Sukesh was said to be in possession of Rs 1.30 crore at the time of his arrest from Hyatt hotel in Delhi on Sunday night. The Delhi police believe that Dhinakaran could have been in direct touch with Sukesh.
While TTV Dhinakaran initially claimed that he didn't know Sukesh, he later admitted that he did know him, according to the Delhi police. However, the police said that Dhinakaran had claimed that he thought Sukesh was a High Court judge. Dhinakaran reportedly said that Sukesh offered to help him with the two-leaves case, but he, Dhinakaran, declined the offer.
The two camps in the AIADMK, led by former Chief Minister O Panneerselvam on one side and Sasikala on the other, have been embattled over the ownership of the ‘two-leaves’ symbol of the AIADMK, with each side claiming it to be their own.
Arrest Comes at the Time of AIADMK Merger Talks
His arrest comes at a time when the ruling faction led by chief minister Edappadi Palaniswami are holding talks with former CM O Panneerselvam’s camp for a merger. It also comes days after finance minister Jayakumar announced that Dhinakaran and his aunt, general secretary VK Sasikala would be sidelined from the party.
Trouble for the Mannargudi man began on 7 April, with the I-T raids on properties belonging to Health Minister Vijayabaskar, who is alleged to have distributed money during the RK Nagar bye-polls, where Dhinakaran was contesting. With the taint of corruption on his cabinet, Palaniswami was keen to drop Vijayabaskar, who is a Dhinakaran loyalist. However, TTV had resisted any attempt given that it would reflect poorly on him.
The pressure, however, continued to mount on the deputy general secretary, after an FIR was registered against Kamaraj, Kadambur Raju and Udumalai Radhakrishnan, senior ministers who belong to his camp, on charges of trespassing and obstructing public servants from discharging their duty.
On 19 April, hours after the ruling faction announced his ouster, Dhinakaran said he would respect the decision and keep away from the party affairs. He is, however, yet to submit his resignation from the post, stating that it was his aunt, who had appointed him to the post of general secretary.
(This story was originally published on The News Minute)
(The Quint is available on Telegram. For handpicked stories every day, subscribe to us on Telegram)
Subscribe To Our Daily Newsletter And Get News Delivered Straight To Your Inbox.