New Delhi, April 14
AIADMK leader T.T.V. Dinakaran, a nephew of jailed party chief V.K. Sasikala, was on Monday accused of trying to bribe the Election Commission with crores of rupees to reclaim the party’s disputed and now frozen “two leaves” symbol.
A Delhi Police officer told IANS that they arrested Dinakaran’s close aide Sukesh Chandrasekar from a south Delhi hotel on Sunday with Rs 1.3 crore that was meant for bribing the poll panel members. The suspect reportedly told police that he was Dinakaran’s “middleman” and was asked to pay the money to the officials in exchange for the symbol. “Dinakaran has been booked for criminal conspiracy and corruption after Chandrasekar disclosed his name during the late night police raid at the hotel where he was staying,” the police officer said. The officer said the 27-year-old suspect, who is said to own a fleet of luxury cars, confessed he was playing the middleman. The police raided the hotel following a tip, the officer said. A police team is expected to travel to Chennai to summon Dinakaran, who denied the allegation. Dinakaran told reporters in Chennai that he didn’t know “anybody by the name Sukesh Chandrasekar” and called it a conspiracy to destroy the AIADMK — divided between two factions after its leader J. Jayalalithaa died on December 5 while she was the Chief Minister.
“Somebody is scheming to destroy the AIADMK. I will meet the allegation legally. If I am summoned by Delhi Police, I will meet it legally,” he said. Dinakaran is the candidate of the ruling AIADMK faction in the R.K. Nagar assembly constituency in Chennai. The by-poll, due on April 12, was postponed following allegations of cash distribution to voters on a massive scale by the ruling AIADMK. Sasikala made Dinakaran the party in charge before she went to prison.
The other faction is led by O. Panneerselvam, who was also close to Jayalalithaa and used to stand in for her as Chief Minister. The two factions have been fighting over ownership of the AIADMK. The battle reached the Election Commission that gave the two factions new symbols and ordered a freeze over “two leaves” on March 23. Dinakaran also said he would meet Sasikala in the Bengaluru prison. Meanwhile, the alleged attempt to bribe the Election Commission by Dinakaran may hasten the process of uniting the two AIADMK factions, said former MP K.C. Palaniswamy, a Panneerselvam supporter.
“If the election panel decided that Sasikala’s election (as AIADMK General Secretary) was not legal, then every other thing in the party will automatically settle down,” Palaniswamy .
New Delhi, April 14