AIADMK, the story so far

T.T.V. Dhinakaran charged with bid to bribe poll panel

T.T.V. Dhinakaran during a poll campaign in Chennai. File photo  

AIADMK (Amma) deputy general secretary T.T.V. Dhinakaran has been booked for allegedly trying to bribe the Election Commission of India (ECI) for obtaining the party symbol (two leaves) for his faction, the police said on Monday.

The development comes after the arrest of an alleged middleman from a five-star hotel in South Delhi even as Mr. Dhinakaran claimed that he had no knowledge of the ‘broker’ and he had come to know about his arrest only through media reports.

 

The FIR has been registered by the Inter-State Cell of the Delhi police Crime Branch.

DCP (Crime) Madhur Verma said Mr. Dhinakaran’s name cropped up after the arrest of Sukesh Chandra- sekhar from Hyatt hotel on Sunday night. Sukesh has a criminal record and similar cases against him in Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai.

Based on Sukesh’s purported disclosure, Mr. Verma also said that it was he who approached Mr. Dhinakaran and assured him that he could get the frozen symbol for his faction.

“He told Mr. Dhinakaran that he would influence the Election Commission to obtain a favourable order for them for ₹50 crore,” said Mr. Verma. It is not clear how much money was actually paid and how the transactions were made.

Two cars seized

However, at least ₹1.3 crore and two high-end cars have been recovered from Sukesh, the police said. It is alleged he was planning to use the money to bribe EC officials. “He told us that Dhinakaran was in direct touch with him. Dhinakaran is currently in Tamil Nadu and summons will be sent to him to join the probe. We have evidence that the money belongs to his faction of the party,” said another police officer.

In Chennai, Mr. Dhinakaran told the media: “I do not know anyone by that name [Sukesh Chandras- ekhar]. I did not talk to anyone regarding this [matter pending before the Election Commission on the freezing of “two leaves” symbol].”

He maintained that he would face the issue “legally” if summons were issued by the Delhi police.

Mr. Dhinakaran was a candidate for the April 12 by-election (cancelled later) to the R.K. Nagar Assembly constituency which had fallen vacant after the death of former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa.

The Election Commission had last month allotted new names and symbols to the V.K. Sasikala and O. Panneerselvam factions of the AIADMK after freezing the party symbol and name ahead of the R.K. Nagar by-election in Chennai.

The police remained tight-lipped on whether the name(s) of any ECI official had also come up during the questioning of Sukesh.

Mr. Verma did not comment when asked if Mr. Dhinakaran will be summoned or arrested in connection with the case.

Mr. Dhinakaran and Sukesh have been booked under Section 8 of the Prevention of Corruption Act (taking gratification, in order, by corrupt or illegal means, to influence public servant) and Sections 170 (impersonating as a public servant) and 120 B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code. On slapping Section 170, IPC, another officer said that he had posed as an MP without commenting on whether he had approached any ECI official by claiming that he was one.

Sukesh was later remanded in eight-day police custody by a local court.

After meeting the media, Mr. Dhinakaran left for Bengaluru to visit his aunt and jailed general secretary of the AIADMK (Amma) V.K. Sasikala.

Asked whether there were motives behind the filing of a case, he replied that when a person, “unknown” to him, referred to his name, there “could be” some reason. He also complained that “efforts are on to destroy our organisation politically” and such kind of information was being spread.

Reacting to the demand of the Pattali Makkal Katchi founder S. Ramadoss that the present government be dismissed, O.S. Manian, a senior leader and secretary of the Nagapattinam district unit, said Dr. Ramadoss was desperate to have his son, Anbumani, installed as Chief Minister.

(With inputs from Tamil Nadu Bureau)

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2021 8:44:33 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/ttv-dhinakaran-booked-on-bribery-charge/article18075464.ece

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