The State committee office of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) was attacked on Friday by cadres of the Pattali Makkal Katchi in retaliation to an attack on the office of Makkal TV, a satellite channel affiliated to the PMK.

The attack on the TV channel's office by CPI(M) workers came after they organised an agitation against the telecast of a news item raising questions about the death of CPI(M) leader W.R.Varada Rajan.

Police arrested 85 persons, including CPI(M) State secretariat members K. Balakrishnan and Selvasingh, South Chennai district secretary Bheema Rao and North Chennai district secretary T.K. Shanmugam on charges of attacking Makkal TV office. PMK councillor Venkatesan and 13 others were arrested for the attack on CPI(M) office. All of them were remanded to judicial custody.

Trouble begun when the CPI(M) workers assembled in front of Makkal TV office to protest the telecast on Thursday of a story on the death of Varada Rajan. Citing sources, the television channel had claimed that according to the post-mortem report Varada Rajan could have been murdered.

K. Baskara Chandran, Associate Editor of Makkal TV, said a group barged into the office after attacking the security guard.

Four employees, including a woman graphic designer, were injured, he said.

Joint Commissioner of Police (Central) V.A. Ravikumar said police anticipated agitation in front of the ‘Makkal' TV office. “The mob threw stones from a distance. Only one person managed to enter the office premises and he was also removed immediately.” Even as the police arrested the CPI (M) leaders and cadres, a group of men entered the CPI (M) office and vandalised two cars, five motorcycles, besides breaking the window panels of the building.

“PMK councillor Prakash led the attackers,” said CPI(M) state secretary G. Ramakrishnan.

“We received an anonymous call about the attack and immediately informed the police. Ten minutes after the arrival of two policemen the attackers came and vandalised the office,” said Mr Ramakrishnan. “Senior CPI(M) leaders N. Sankaraiah was in the office. The attackers threatened to kill all the leaders,” said party State secretariat member P. Sampath.

In Kumbakonam, the CPI(M) office was ransacked by a group of people.