High drama at airport before arrest

Nakkheeran editor picked up before flight and whisked away to Chintadripet police station

Updated - October 10, 2018 08:47 am IST

Published - October 10, 2018 01:06 am IST - Chennai

R.R. Gopal, editor, Nakkheeran, addressing the media, while being taken to court in Chennai on Tuesday.

R.R. Gopal, editor, Nakkheeran, addressing the media, while being taken to court in Chennai on Tuesday.

Early on Tuesday, Nakkheeran editor R.R. Gopal and two of his friends had cleared the security check at the Chennai airport and were waiting to board a scheduled flight to Pune. Suddenly, a police officer intercepted him near the washroom and said that Adyar Deputy Commissioner of Police wanted to meet him.

“As I was coming out of the washroom, the Airport ACP informed me that I should meet the Adyar DCP. When I walked to meet the officer, some other police personnel surrounded me and took away my mobile phone. They gave me no reason as to why I was being detained,” he said.

“My repeated pleas that two of my friends were waiting to board the plane, and had to be informed, fell on deaf ears. I was quickly bundled into a vehicle and taken to the Chintadripet police station, where I came to know of the case against me,” Mr. Gopal told The Hindu .

Police blocked traffic on the roads leading to the Chindatripet police station and cordoned off the area, barring entry to mediapersons and supporters of Mr. Gopal. MDMK leader Vaiko, who came to meet Mr. Gopal, was denied entry into the police station. After Mr. Vaiko sat on a dharna in front of the police station, condemning the arrest, he was taken into custody by the police.

Around 1 p.m., amid tight security, Mr. Gopal was taken to the Kasturba Government Hospital in Triplicane for a medical check-up, where DMK president M.K. Stalin and other senior leaders met him.

Produced in court

Mr. Gopal was then produced in the Allikulam Court, where the magistrate refused to remand him.

Emerging from the court hall, he said, “The judiciary is strongly supporting freedom of speech and the media. I thank my advocates and veteran journalist N. Ram, who put forth strong arguments against the case as a representative of the media in the court. I also thank all political leaders who stood by me.”

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