Hawala operator arrested in EC official bribery case

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Hawala operator arrested in EC official bribery case

New Delhi/Chennai, Apr 28 (PTI) An alleged hawala operator was arrested here today in connection with the Election Commission bribery case in which three persons, including AIADMK (Amma) leader TTV Dhinakaran, are in police custody.

Naresh alias Nathu Singh was arrested at the Delhi airport for his alleged involvement in the “illegal transfer” of money to arrested middleman Sukesh Chandrasekhar by Dhinakaran, said a senior police officer.

Police said Singh was about to leave the city when he was taken into custody.

Naresh, who is based in Delhi’s Chandni Chowk, had allegedly received the money from his associate in Chennai.

Police said another man, who the suspect, was involved in the illegal money transfer, has been detained here and is being questioned.

A special court here remanded Naresh to two-day police custody after the Delhi Police Crime Branch argued that unaccounted amount of Rs one crore was given to him to be handed over to Chandrashekar for bribing an EC official.

It also sent Chandrashekar, who was produced on expiry of his police custody, to judicial custody till May 12 after the police said he was not required for further custodial interrogation.

Besides the developments here, a Delhi Police team, which is at present in Chennai, questioned a man suspected to have aided the money transfer in the bribery case.

Police said the questioning of the man, whose identity was not revealed, at suburban Adambakkam in Chennai, was part of the probe into use of conduits for illegal money transfers through the hawala route.

Dhinakaran was taken to Chennai yesterday and searches were conducted at his residence there.

Personnel of the Delhi Police Crime Branch, led by Assistant Commissioner of Police Sanjay Sherawat searched the residences of Dhinakaran and that of his associate Mallikarjuna, who has also been arrested.

Police had secured warrants from a Delhi court to conduct the searches as part of efforts to gather “further evidence” in the alleged attempt by Dhinakaran to bribe EC officials.

Besides the two, others connected to them were also questioned over illegal channels and conduits used for sending money to Delhi from there, police said.

Dhinakaran was arrested on the night of April 25 after four days of questioning for allegedly attempting to bribe an unidentified EC official to get the undivided AIADMK’s ‘two leaves’ election symbol for his faction.

Police had earlier said Chandrasekar, who was the first to be arrested, had struck a deal for Rs 50 crore to help the AIADMK (Amma) faction keep the ‘two leaves’ symbol.

They had seized Rs 1.30 crore from Chandrasekar when he was arrested from a five-star hotel in Delhi on April 16.

Dhinakaran has been accused of allegedly arranging the amount from undisclosed sources and getting it transferred from Chennai to Delhi through illegal channels.

Mallikarjuna was arrested for allegedly helping Dhinakaran transfer the money from Chennai to Delhi, police had said.

Police are also verifying whether Chandrasekar had approached any EC official for getting a favourable verdict for Dhinakaran’s faction.

Dhinakaran, who was appointed deputy general secretary by jailed AIADMK chief V K Sasikala, is facing a revolt by a section of state ministers who have decided to keep the two out of party affairs.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.