Jailed on corruption charges

THE former Tamil Nadu chief minister and DMK President, Mr M. Karunanidhi, the former chief secretary, Mr K.A. Nambiar, and a host of others were arrested in the wee hours of Saturday, on charges of corruption in the construction of flyovers in Chennai.

They were produced before the Principal Sessions Judge, Mr S. Ashok Kumar, at his residence and remanded to judicial custody till July 10. Their bail applications have been posted for notice and counter on July 3.

In a wave of arrests of DMK leaders, Union Ministers, Mr Murasoli Maran and Mr T.R. Baalu, were arrested for “obstructing a public servant from discharging his duties”. Mr Maran was arrested from the Apollo Hospital where he was admitted in the morning.

The Chennai Mayor and Mr Karunanidhi’s son, Mr M.K. Stalin, who is the prime accused in the case, surrendered before the judge. He was remanded to custody till July 14.

The arrests were made on the basis of a complaint filed by the Chennai Corporation Commissioner, Mr J.T. Acharyulu, on Friday. The complaint stated that the civic body had incurred losses of Rs 12 crore in the construction of the mini-flyovers in the city. (Mr Acharyulu was recently appointed Corporation Commissioner by the Jayalalitha Government. He had been kept under suspension by the DMK Government.)

The others arrested included Mr Ko.Si. Mani, former local administration minister; Mr R.S. Sridhar, Chairman, Standing Committee, Taxation and Finance, Chennai Corporation; Mr A.K. Jagadeesan, Chairman, Standing Committee, Works, Chennai Corporation; and Mr N.S. Srinivasan and Mr Raja Shankar, special representatives of the Mayor.

The other accused in the case are Mr K. Ponmudi, former transport minister and former chairman, Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority; Mr N. Raghavan, chief executive, L&T Ramboll Consulting Engineers Ltd; Mr M.T. Sethuraman, retired superintending engineer, Chennai Corporation; Mr A.P. Muthuswami, former chief secretary; Mr P. Kolappan, former commissioner, Chennai Corporation; and Ms S. Malathi, former secretary, Municipal Administration and Water Supply Department.

All the 14 have been charged under Sections 120(b) (criminal conspiracy), 167 (public servant framing an incorrect document with intent to cause injury), 420 (cheating) and 409 (criminal breach of trust) of the IPC, and Section 13 (2) read with 13 (1)(d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

A team of police officers descended on the Oliver Road residence of Mr Karunanidhi around 1.45 a.m. to arrest him. Both Mr Karunanidhi, and his nephew and the Union Commerce and Industry Minister, Mr Murasoli Maran, alleged that the police broke a lock in the house and without as much as producing an arrest warrant or furnishing a copy of the charge-sheet, arrested the former chief minister.

They alleged that Mr Karunanidhi was manhandled by the police before being whisked away to the office of the Crime Branch CID at the Government Estate. Mr Maran also alleged that he and his Cabinet colleague, Mr Baalu, were initially denied entry into the CB-CID office. Some reporters were taken away in a police van to a police station and released a couple of hours later.

Courtesy : Business Line
June 30, 2001.
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