Special Correspondent

Thiagarajan trying to act through remote control, says Government

CHENNAI: The State Government has told the Madras High Court that the "absconding" Deputy Mayor of Chennai Corporation R. Thiagarajan is attempting to act through "remote control."

When a writ petition from Mr. Thiagarajan, seeking to restrain the Corporation Commissioner from convening the budget session of the Council on February 1, came up for hearing before Justice V. Dhanapalan on Friday, Advocate-General N.R. Chandran said the Deputy Mayor post was not an "ornamental" one. "It is a very responsible post and the person occupying it must reside in the city."

Signature questioned

Suspecting the genuineness of a signature found in a fax message sent to the Commissioner, Mr. Chandran said, "the Deputy Mayor's signature appears to be forged. There is dissimilarity between the one seen in the fax message and those in official files." Moreover, the message has been faxed from a Chennai number though he had claimed that he was in Malaysia at the time, the AG submitted.

A.L. Somayaji, Additional Advocate-General, said that in the absence of Mr. Thiagarajan, the Commissioner had to invite a State Minister to hoist the National Flag on the Corporation premises on Republic Day. Pointing out that there was no bar on him to attend the Council meetings, Mr. Thiagarajan did not attend the last meeting held in November 2005.

Council meeting

Mr. Somayaji also asserted that the Commissioner was entitled to convene Council meetings, prepare the agenda and pass resolution. He had been duly authorised by a Government Order to that effect, he added.

K. Chandru, senior counsel for the Deputy Mayor, however, argued that the Commissioner could not arrogate to himself all the powers and duties of a Deputy Mayor. "He can only call for meetings."

The Commissioner issued notification for two meetings, Mr. Chandru said, adding that it had been done to disqualify Mr. Thiagarajan from the Deputy Mayor post.

Mr. Justice Dhanapalan then posted the matter to January 31, when interim orders would be passed.