FIR against Sasikala's nephew TTV Dinakaran in bribery case over AIADMK's 'Two leaves' symbol

Devyani Sultania
'Two Leaves' bribery case: Delhi police arrest TTV Dhinakaran for allegedly bribing EC official to retain party symbol

The crime branch of the Delhi Police on Monday, April 17, filed a First Information Report (FIR) against AIADMK Deputy General Secretary TTV Dhinakaran for allegedly offering a bribe to the Election Commission for the 'Two Leaves' symbol of the AIADMK.

Sukesh Chandrasekhar, Dinakaran's alleged middleman, was arrested from Hyatt Hotel in New Delhi on Sunday night. The police also seized Rs 1.3 crore from him along with a BMW and a Mercedes car. Media reports suggest that Rs 50 crore was supposed to be paid as bribe. Delhi police teams will depart for Chennai on Tuesday to serve the summons to Dhinakaran.

"I will legally face (the case) if any summon comes to me from Delhi Police," Dinakaran told reporters, adding that he did not know anyone by the name of Sukesh Chandrasekhar and that he had not "bribed anyone for anything."

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Dinakaran, who is Sasikala's nephew, has been booked under Sections 170 (personating a public servant) and 120b (punishment of criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code and Section 8 (taking gratification, in order, by corrupt or illegal means, to influence public servant) of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Sasikala's camp had contested the by-elections using the 'Hat' symbol after the poll panel froze the 'Two Leaves' symbol of the AIADMK following the split in the party. The arrest comes amid reports of a fight between the two factions led by O Panneerselvam and Sasikala Natarajan of the AIADMK for the ownership of the party symbol. Dinakaran was the party's candidate for the RK Nagar by-polls, which were postponed by the EC over allegations of use of money power.

"It has been learnt that Sukesh had struck a deal for Rs 50 crore for helping the AIADMK faction keep the 'two leaves' symbol. Police have recovered Rs 1.30 crore from Sukesh and two cars — a BMW and a Mercedes — have also been seized," a senior police officer told PTI.

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The Income Tax Department had recently seized documents that showed that Sasikala's camp had given more than Rs 89.50 crore to seven ministers so that they could distribute the money to the voters in RK Nagar. The I-T Department had also raided the homes and business premises of Tamil Nadu Health Minister C Vijayabaskar, his relatives, business associates and persons close to him.

Dinakaran was reinducted into the AIADMK on February 15 by Sasikala, five years after former state chief minister Jayalalithaa expelled him over reports that he had interfered in the functioning of the government and the party. Dinakaran's appointment as the deputy general secretary of the AIADMK was announced a few hours before Sasikala surrendered before a Bengaluru court to serve her four-year jail term in the disproportionate assets case.

Dinakaran has also been booked under the Foreign Exchange Regulations Act (FERA) for unexplained deposits of huge chunks of money into his bank accounts within the period of 1991 to 1995, when Jayalalithaa was the chief minister. He tried to avoid the probe by saying that he was a citizen of Singapore.

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However, the ED did not believe it and found him guilty of money laundering, following which the Madras Hight Court imposed a fine of Rs 25 crore on him. The fine was upheld by an appellate authority. Dinakaran then moved the high court. The matter has been pending since then.

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