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T.T.V. Dhinakaran arrested for bid to bribe poll panel

In the net: T.T.V. Dhinakaran arrives for questioning at the Inter State Cell Crime Branch office, in New Delhi on Monday.

In the net: T.T.V. Dhinakaran arrives for questioning at the Inter State Cell Crime Branch office, in New Delhi on Monday.   | Photo Credit: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

Along with Mr. Dhinakaran, his close friend Mallikarjuna was taken into custody

The Delhi police Crime Branch late on Tuesday arrested AIADMK (Amma) deputy general secretary T.T.V. Dhinakaran in connection with an alleged attempt to bribe Election Commission officials to secure the ‘two leaves’ symbol for his faction.

He was said to have made the attempt through middleman Sukesh Chandrashekhar, who was arrested last week. Along with Mr. Dhinakaran, his close friend Mallikarjuna was taken into custody. Speaking to The Hindu, Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Praveer Ranjan confirmed the two arrests. While Mr. Dhinakaran is accused of roping in Mr. Chandrashekhar for the bribery attempt, the role of Mr. Mallikarjuna is not known yet, though sources claimed it was for facilitating the deal. The arrest of Mr. Dhinakaran follows four days of questioning, during which the police claimed to have gathered a lot of information and confronted the two accused. Mr. Mallikarjuna and Mr. Dhinakaran’s personal assistant Janarthana were asked to join the investigations on Tuesday.

Officers said Mr. Janarthana would be used as a witness because the fresh arrests were made only on his testimony. Both he and Mr. Dhinakaran were being questioned at the Inter State Cell office of the Crime Branch in Chanakyapuri.

Earlier, the Delhi police said they had been told by Shah Faisal, a hawala operator, that he had handed over money to Mr. Chandrashekhar for the bribery attempt.

Faisal told the police that he had been instructed to collect a parcel containing the money from a person in Chennai. He also had been allegedly told to hand over the parcel to Mr. Chandrashekhar.

The Delhi Police Crime Branch said Faisal’s statement can be a crucial link in unearthing the money trail. The amount in the parcel is said to be ₹10 crore, a part of which (₹1.3 crore) was purportedly seized from Mr. Chandrashekhar at the time of his arrest.

Another hawala operator whose name has cropped up during investigations is one Gopi. According to the police, during the hawala transaction the accused had used Gopi’s mobile phone to speak to Faisal and others. Gopi so far has not joined the investigations, but is likely to do so in the coming days as a notice has been sent to him. To confront him with the accused duo and make more recoveries, the police requested an extension of Mr. Chandrashekhar’s custody which was granted by the Tis Hazari court.

Court chides police

Earlier in the day a special court asked the Delhi Police why no action had so far been taken against Mr. Dhinakaran when there were allegations that he attempted to bribe the EC.

“The whole allegations are against him. Show me the call details where it shows Sukesh Chandrashekar [under arrest] talked to Dhinakaran,” special judge Poonam Chaudhry told the city police. She made these observations while extending the police remand of Mr. Chandrashekhar by three days.

The judge directed the police to show the call details which proved that Mr. Chandrashekhar was in touch with the politician.

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Printable version | Apr 1, 2020 3:04:59 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/ttv-dhinakaran-arrested-by-delhi-police-in-bribery-case/article18210545.ece

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