Assault case against Madurai Deputy Mayor

MADURAI, NOV. 15. The Deputy Mayor of Madurai and DMK functionary, Mr. M. Pandian, was allegedly involved in gang assault on a bar man on duty at a toll gate on ring road.

(The toll gates along the ring road are manned by the Madurai district Exnora personnel who assist the TEXCO in the collection of toll).

The Deputy Mayor, a close aide of the Chief Minister's son, Mr. M. K. Alagiri, and his men were said to have assaulted the bar man, Mr. Vivekanandan, for lowering the iron bar to stop Mr. Pandian's vehicle at a toll gate on November 11. This is the second incident of violence in which the name of the Deputy Mayor has figured in an FIR. On an earlier occasion, his name was found in the FIR filed with regard to the attack on the Sourashtra

Co-operative Bank in the city in the aftermath of the murder of the CPI(M) councillor, Ms. Leelavathi.

According to Mr. Vivekanandan, the vehicle was stopped at the toll gate No. 5 for toll collection. A group of men, including the Deputy Mayor, jumped out of the car and attacked him for stopping the vehicle. The gang, later, threw him into a roadside bush.

The Exnora submitted a petition from Mr. Vivekanandan to the Corporation Commissioner, Mr. Gagandeep Singh Bedi, who forwarded it with his remarks to the SP (Madurai rural), Mr. Varadaraju. An FIR, under Sections 147, 323 and 506 (I), was registered against the Deputy Mayor and his men at the Perunkudi police station.

The Exnora members met the Mayor, Mr. P. Kulandaivelu, and Assembly Speaker, Mr. P. T. R. Palanivel Rajan, and briefed them on the incident. They had also sent a memorandum to the Chief Minister in this regard.

According to Mr. S. V. Pathy, executive president of the Tamil Nadu State Exnora, such rude behaviour from the Deputy Mayor had created a fear psychosis amidst the workers. Hence, it has been decided to withdraw the Exnora personnel from manning the bars at the toll gates.

It may be recalled that in 1998, the DMK high command has suspended Mr. Pandian for his `anti-party' activities. The suspension was later revoked. The city police had also withdrawn the cases against him in the Sourashtra Bank attack case, citing `lack of evidence'.