Publisher evicted from Chennai book fair for anti-govt book, arrested

A Tamil publisher, who had put up for sale a self-published book exposing alleged corruption in the Chennai Smart City project, was evicted from the ongoing Chennai Book Fair and arrested by the police on charges of threatening the organisers of the fair.

The Book Fair got underway on Friday last. The Book Sellers and Publishers Association of South India (BAPASI) had asked V Anbazhagan, who had taken on rent a stall at the Chennai Book Fair to vacate the premises on Saturday saying he had violated rules.

BAPASI president R S Shanmugam in a notice to Anbazhagan said, “You had agreed to abide by the rules of the association while applying for the stall. Selling anti-government books at your stall is a violation of the rules. Therefore you are required to immediately vacate the stall.”

Following this Anbazhagan allegedly got into a heated argument with the office bearers of BAPASI and abused and criminally intimidated them. The office bearers then lodged a police complaint on the basis of which he was arrested on Sunday morning and remanded in judicial custody till January 24.

Anbazhagan, who had previously worked as a journalist in a couple of Tamil publications, was detained under the Goondas Act over two years ago on charges of blackmailing the aids of Local Administration Minister S P Velumani.

However, the Madras High Court had quashed the detention on technical grounds. The Smart City project comes under the Minister's purview. Several political party leaders including DMK president M K Stalin condemned his arrest and sought his release.

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