The surprise visit was termed a courtesy call
Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) patriarch M. Karunanidhi's son and Union Minister of Chemicals and Fertilizers, M. K. Alagiri, called on senior party functionary and former Agriculture Minister, Veerapandi S. Arumugam, in Poolavari village near here on Thursday to “enquire about his health condition.”
Mr. Arumugam, who was in police custody for three days in a case of land grabbing, was released on conditional bail on Wednesday.
The surprise visit was termed a courtesy call, and the meeting between the two DMK leaders was “cordial”, according to a party source.
The two discussed for an hour the recent developments, especially the spate of criminal cases related to land grab charges faced by many DMK functionaries, including Mr. Arumugam, the source further said.
Mr. Alagiri, who is the party's South Zone Organising Secretary, said he came here to meet Mr. Arumugam to enquire about his health condition since he had sustained bleeding injuries on the hand in the crowd frenzy when he was brought by police to the Salem Court on Wednesday after three days of “custodial interrogation” as per Madras High Court orders.
Mr. Alagiri evinced “very keen interest” in legal issues concerning land grab cases in which Mr. Arumugam had been implicated, and the nature of questions posed during the interrogation.
“We will face the situation as per the resolution taken in the recently held DMK General Council (in Coimbatore),” Mr. Alagiri said.
He also interacted with a few local DMK functionaries and villagers of Poolavari who came to meet him, for 20 minutes, before leaving for Madurai along with Madurai Rural District DMK secretary P. Moorthy and Madurai Deputy Mayor P.M. Mannan.
Mr. Arumugam told The Hindu that he was happy that Mr. Alagiri visited him and thanked him for his show of concern.
“DMK Chief Karunanidhi had called me many times since my release from the three-day custodial interrogation. He asked whether I was harassed during police inquiry and listened to the details of custodial interrogation. He told me that he was contemplating a co-ordinated and comprehensive plan to face such false cases in future.” Mr. Arumugam said that DMK could not be cowed down by the foisting of such cases. “The AIADMK government has converted civil disputes into criminal cases to wreak political vengeance. We will face them legally.”
Many leaders, including former Union Minister Dayanidhi Maran and Union Minister of State for Finance S. S. Palani Manickam, had called him over phone and enquired about his health. To a query, he said DMK treasurer and former Deputy Chief Minister M.K. Stalin was yet to speak to him.