Former Transport Minister and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam Tiruchi district secretary K.N. Nehru, former MLA Anbil Periyasamy and Tiruchi Deputy Mayor M. Anbazhagan were among seven persons arrested by the police here on Thursday on the charge of forcibly acquiring a piece of land from a doctor for building the party’s district office in Tiruchi.

They were arrested by the City Crime Branch based on a complaint filed by K. Srinivasan, a medical practitioner of Thuraiyur near Tiruchi, alleging that 13,920 square feet of land held by his family was illegally encroached upon and later taken over by Mr. Nehru and 10 others for constructing the party office, Kalaignar Arivalayam, near the Chathram Bus Stand in the city.

Kalaignar Arivalayam was declared open by former Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi in September 2008. The building is spread over about 56,000 square feet of land and the value of the portion of land held by Dr. Srinivasan’s family was estimated at Rs. 10 crore, police said.

The land, Dr. Srinivasan alleged in his complaint, was illegally encroached upon during December 2006 by some persons on the instructions of Mr. Nehru. Subsequently, he, his wife Manimegalai and father Krishnasamy were forcibly taken to the office of Mr. Nehru at Thillai Nagar by Mr. Anbazhagan and others. They were allegedly threatened there by Mr. Nehru, his brother K.N. Ramajeyam, Anbil Periyasamy, Anbazhagan and Kudamuritti Sekar, a party functionary.

Dr. Srinivasan claimed he was also assaulted on the occasion, resulting in his teeth being broken. He was forced to sign an unregistered agreement for the "sale" of his land to the DMK. Though an "advance" of Rs. 40 lakh was given to him, the money was robbed by DMK men when he was returning home.

On September 7, 2007, he was "taken" to Mr. Nehru’s office again when he and his wife were made to sign a sale deed in favour of the former Minister, on behalf of the party. The deed was registered without paying any compensation, it was alleged.

Police said Mr. Nehru and others were picked up after a preliminary investigation. Mr. Nehru was picked up by a police team from his house at Thillai Nagar in the city in a swift early morning operation and taken to the Armed Reserve Community Centre. He was held there for about a couple of hours before being produced before the Judicial Magistrate IV Pushparani at her house. He along with Mr.Periyasamy and Mr. Sundarajalu, owner of a textile retail outlet in the city, were remanded to custody till September 8. They were later sent to the Cuddalore Central Prison.

As the news spread, a sizeable gathering of DMK supporters raised slogans against the government for foisting cases at the Armed Reserve Complex and also at the Magistrate’s house. They also attempted to block the police vehicle in which Mr. Nehru was being taken. Mr. Nehru stepped down from the vehicle to pacify the party men.

Four other accused, Mr. Anbazhagan, Mr. Kudamuritti Sekar, Sheriff and Mamundi were taken into custody later. A. Soundarapandian, sitting DMK MLA representing Lalgudi, Mr. Ramajeyam, Tamilmaran and Tamilselvan are the others cited as accused in the case.

A case has been registered under Sections 147 (rioting); 447 (criminal trespass); 363 (kidnapping); 342 (wrongful confinement); 325 (causing grievous hurt); 387 (causing fear of death or grievous hurt in order to commit extortion); 506 (ii) (criminal intimidation) and 392 (robbery) read with 120 (b) (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code.