TAMIL NADU

HC direction against arresting Mullaivendan

CHENNAI MAY 22. The Madras High Court has directed the Dharmapuri district police not to arrest the former DMK Minister, V. Mullaivendan, for two weeks in connection with two cases registered against him last month.

Justice C. Nagappan passed the interim order on Wednesday on two anticipatory bail petitions filed by the Minister and five co-accused in the cases. On April 25, one Dhasthtagir was killed and several others injured in a blast at a public meeting addressed by Mr. Mullaivendan at Royakottai near Krishnagiri. According to the prosecution, the blast was caused by high-intensity crackers, illegally purchased from unlicensed explosive dealers in Marandahalli.

While one case was registered against the organisers in connection with the procurement of high-intensity crackers, and the former Minister's name added later, the second case pertained to Mr. Mullaivendan's statement alleging an assassination bid by a Muslim. The police said the observation created disharmony between members of two communities in the area and led to destruction of public property.

In their petitions, the former Minister and others contended that two cases should not have been registered against them for a single offence. Reiterating that it was an assassination bid, they said the cases were registered owing to a `political vendetta'. When the matter came up before Mr. Justice Nagappan, the prosecution filed a counter-affidavit claiming that Mr. Mullaivendan advanced the assassination theory only to gain political mileage. After the former Minister's counsel, S. Duraisamy, stated that he would file a reply to the counter, the judge granted him two weeks time and restrained the police from arresting Mr. Mullaivendan and other petitioners till then.

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