The former Madurai Mayor, M. Patturajan, on Wednesday denied a charge contained in a U.S. diplomatic cable, accessed by The Hindu through WikiLeaks, that he had acknowledged that voters were bribed in a by-election in Tamil Nadu in January 2009.

Terming the charge “utterly false,” he said he had not met Frederick J. Kaplan, the official of the U.S. Consulate-General, Chennai, who had authored the cable. “Till date, I have not seen, nor do I know Mr. Kaplan, to whom it is reported I have acknowledged giving bribes to voters,” he said.

He claimed that the message was released to “create a bad name for him” as he was a “loyal worker of the DMK and a confidant of top leaders of the DMK… The Chief Minister [M. Karunanidhi] and his entire family members have special affection for me,” he added. It was also aimed at tarnishing the image of Union Chemicals and Fertilizers Minister M.K. Alagiri, he said.