CHENNAI: Banners of VK Sasikala, the chief of Tamil Nadu’s ruling AIADMK, were removed from the party’s main office in Chennai hours after her nephew and deputy TTV Dinakaran was arrested in Delhi close to midnight on Tuesday.
Mr Dinakaran is accused of attempting to bribe Election Commission officials to allot his faction of the AIADMK the party’s “two-leaf” symbol, frozen after a dispute with a rival faction led by former Chief Minister O Panneerselvam or OPS. The 53-year-old was appointed the party’s number two by Ms Sasikala before she went to jail for corruption.
The arrest has bolstered demands in Chennai for his sacking from the party. The faction led by Ms Sasikala and Mr Dinakaran has decided that both will be evicted from their positions to facilitate a merger with the OPS group.
Work has started on the OPS group’s demand that posters and banners of Ms Sasikala be removed from the party office.
When J Jayalalithaa died as Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, her party promoted Ms Sasikala, her live-in aide, as its chief. O Panneerselvam, who was a regular stand-in for Ms Jayalalithaa while she was alive, was made Chief Minister. Mr Panneerselvam revolted when Ms Sasikala asked him to step down so she could become Chief Minister. A twist in the plot was provided by the Supreme Court which in February sentenced her to jail for four years for corruption.
Mr Dinakaran was questioned for four straight days before his arrest, on allegations that he had paid a middleman a large amount of cash to be handed over to Election Commission officials.
The police say Mr Dinakaran confessed to meeting the middleman, Sukesh Chandrasekar, who was arrested from a hotel in Delhi with around Rs. 1.3 crore in cash. However, the AIADMK leader claimed he thought Mr Chandrasekar was a high court judge when he met him. He has also denied paying him any money.
Mr Chandrasekar, who was arrested on April 16, reportedly told the police he was Mr Dinakaran’s “middleman” and was asked to hand over the cash to Election Commission officials.
A court had earlier on Tuesday asked the police why it has not taken any action against Mr Dinakaran over bribery allegations.