Former Minister for Highways and Minor Ports and DMK Tirupur district secretary, M.P. Saminathan, and K. Kanagaraj (43), a textile businessman and realtor from the city, were on Monday arrested on land grabbing charges, based on a complaint from R. Gopinath, an egg exporter.

Mr. Saminathan was picked up by a by District Crime Branch (DCB) team led by Deputy Superintendent of Police K. Gowthaman from his residence at Muthur near here at 7.15 a.m.

DCB sources said that according to the complainant the duo, along with a few others, grabbed a 5.5 cent plot belonging to Mr. Gopinath's wife at Nallur here and 4.5 acres owned by his cousin, Sunder Raj, at Velayudhapalayam near Avinashi, in 2007.

They obtained, by use of threat, a blank cheque signed by Gopinath's wife, it was alleged.

Mr. Saminathan told reporters that the police had fabricated the case to malign him just ahead of the opening of the DMK's new district office building by M.K. Stalin on January 29.

Members of the Uzhaivar Uzhaipalar Katchi, who gathered at the District Police Office, termed the arrest an act of vendetta by the government.

The arrested were remanded in judicial custody by the Dharapuram Judicial Magistrate. They were taken to Coimbatore Central Prison.

The 47-year-old Mr. Saminathan was brought to the Coimbatore Medical College Hospital for a medical check-up. He was lodged in the prison after the hospital authorities certified that his health was good.