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FIR registered against Panneerselvam, supporters, Madras High Court told

‘DGP has transferred to the CB-CID the four cases relating to the July 11 violence at the AIADMK office’

August 25, 2022 10:38 pm | Updated August 26, 2022 01:25 am IST - CHENNAI

AIADMK MP C. Ve. Shanmugam had accused O. Panneerselvam and his supporters of having trespassed into the party office. File

AIADMK MP C. Ve. Shanmugam had accused O. Panneerselvam and his supporters of having trespassed into the party office. File | Photo Credit: The Hindu

The Greater Chennai Police on Thursday informed the Madras High Court of having registered a First Information Report (FIR) against former Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam and his supporters, R. Vaithilingam and P.H. Manoj Pandian, on August 13 on a complaint accusing them of having stolen cash, property documents and other materials from the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) office during the July 11 violence.

Justice N. Sathish Kumar was also told that the Director General of Police (DGP) had on Wednesday transferred the investigation into the three rioting cases, booked in connection with the violence, as well as the theft case, registered at the instance of Member of Parliament C.Ve. Shanmugam, to the Crime Branch-Criminal Investigation Department (CB-CID) since all four cases were related to the same incident.

Additional Public Prosecutor E. Raj Thilak produced the FIR copy as well as the DGP’s proceedings when a petition filed by Mr. Shanmugam for a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the alleged theft was listed for hearing. Representing the petitioner, advocate M. Mohamed Riyaz said the FIR had been registered only after the filing of the present petition for a CBI probe and only after the court ordered a notice to the police on August 11.

He said the police had also not bothered to inform the complainant about the registration of the FIR though Section 154(2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure mandates that a copy of it should be given to the complainant forthwith free of cost. The counsel also said though the Royapettah police had registered the FIR on August 13, so far, it had not even bothered to visit the scene and take stock of the situation.

It was under such circumstances that the probe had been transferred to the CB-CID, he said, and doubted whether a fair investigation would ever be conducted by the State police. Mr. Riyaz highlighted to the court that the complainant was kept in the dark and remained completely unaware of the registration of his complaint as well as the transfer of the investigation until the police revealed these details before the court on Thursday.

After taking note of his submissions, the judge said the delay on the part of the police in registering the complaint certainly amounted to inaction. He pointed out that the petitioner had lodged the complaint on July 23, immediately after gaining access to the party office, which was sealed by the revenue officials after the violence and was opened only due to judicial intervention. However, the FIR had been registered only on August 13.

However, taking into account that the FIR had been booked under Sections 148 (rioting with deadly weapons), 454 (trespass), 380 (theft), 427 (mischief causing damage) and 506 part II (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code and that the investigation had now been transferred to the CB-CID, the judge decided to monitor the probe and directed the latter to file a status report on the investigation by September 19.

In his affidavit, Mr. Shanmugam had stated that Mr. Panneerselvam and his supporters had gone to the party office in Royapettah on July 11 instead of attending the general council meeting that took place in Vanagaram near Chennai. He accused them of having trespassed into the office after breaking open the doors and alleged that they had looted several documents, including bank pass books and registration certificates of 37 vehicles owned by the party.

He also alleged that petty cash of ₹31,000 was missing, and the rioters had damaged two of the party vehicles that were parked inside the office.

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