Chennai : In what provided fresh ammunition to opposition parties against beleaguered AIADMK (Amma) government in Tamil Nadu, it has come to light that the Election Commission of India (EC) had in April this year ordered registration of an FIR against Chief Minister K Palaniswami and five of his Cabinet colleagues for allegedly bribing voters of the Dr Radhakrishnan Assembly constituency (R K Nagar).
In April, the EC had rescinded the bypoll notification in R K Nagar constituency – last represented by late Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa – where the ruling party had fielded its deputy general secretary TTV Dhinakaran (Sasikala’s nephew).
The EC decision came after documents seized during Income Tax searches at the house of Health Minister C Vijaya Baskar had revealed that voters in R K Nagar could have been bribed Rs 89 crore (at the rate of Rs 4,000 per voter). The document showed the task of ensuring that the money reached the voters was entrusted among others to the Chief Minister and five Cabinet colleagues – School Education Minister K A Sengottaiyan; Local Administration Minister S P Velumani; Cooperation Minister Sellur K Raju, Electricity Minister Thangamani and the Health Minister.
A Chennai-based advocate M P Vairakkannan had filed an RTI application seeking to know what action was proposed against the Chief Minister, his five cabinet colleagues and Dhinakaran. To this the ECI had recently responded, “The Commission has directed that an FIR may be filed by the Returning Officer, in the instant case vide Commission”s letter dated April 18, 2017.”
Based on this, the lawyer has now moved the Madras High Court seeking direction to the police to register an FIR and prosecute those cited as accused.
The RTI Act document became public on Sunday prompting Leader of Opposition M K Stalin (DMK), PMK leader S Ramadoss and BJP State president Tamilisai Soundararajan to demand the resignation of the Chief Minister.