This is how the cookie crumbles: Delhi Police might arrest Dinakaran today in the bribery case
TTV Dinakaran, deputy general secretary of the AIADMK's disowned Sasikala faction, is expected to be arrested by the Delhi police in connection with a bribery case registered against him.
The case was registered following the recovery of Rs1.30 crore from Sukesh Chandrashekhar, a shady character who has claimed that the money was given to him by Dinakaran to pay a bribe of Rs 50 crore to the Election Commission officials to freeze the 'two leaves' party symbol for his faction.
Dinakaran, who was served the summons at his residence in Chennai three days ago by two top officials from the Delhi Police, took the morning flight to Delhi to face further investigation.
The Delhi Police claimed that they have telephone intercepts of conversation between Dinakaran and Chandrashekhar. Dinakaran has already said he has never heard of this man (Chandrashekhar) and he gets telephone calls from many people and merely answering a call does not make him complicit in any crime.
The Delhi Police said the advance Rs 1.30 crore was transferred to Chandrashekhar through the hawala route.
The doubts on Chandrashekhar
What made the case suspect was the fact that Chandrashekhar is a convicted criminal and he has earlier duped people in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu by promising to fix deals for them through his proximity to power centres.
One such case relates to a Bengaluru resident who he duped by claiming that he was close to former Karnataka Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy.
Summoning a suspect for questioning is a step taken before formally effecting an arrest. It is not clear why Dinakaran did not move any court in Chennai for anticipatory bail as he had been given time till 11 PM Saturday by the Delhi Police to respond to charges against him.
Dinakaran sought one more day for appearance, but the Delhi Police refused. In a last minute rush, he took a morning flight and is expected to reach the capital shortly after noon.
Going by what Dinakaran and his supporters have to say about the case, no money has been paid as bribes, the police can book him under Section 116 of the IPC which makes even an attempt to bribe a public servant an abatement to an offence. Section 117 E provides for imprisonment up to one year for bribing a public servant and is a bailable offence.
Dinakaran is expected to move for bail when he is produced before a local court after his arrest.
The chain of events
The summons and the potential arrest has come days after Dinakaran was sidelined along with his aunt and general secretary Sasikala, who is now in a Bengaluru jail, by senior Ministers like D Jayakumar and Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker M Thambidurai.
The rebels formed a seven-member committee of senior ministers to hold talks with rival O Pannerselvam's group for the merger of the two factions so as to claim the party symbol.
Pannerselvam, who has already made it clear that no merger can take place as long as Dinakaran remains a factional leader, has also formed a similar committee of senior ministers to talk with the rival factions and work out modalities for the merger.
With Sasikala in jail and Dinakaran out of the scene by the Delhi Police, the two factions can get down to brass tacks.
The talks, set to begin tomorrow, will entail some hard bargain. The two sticking point will be:
1. Who should be chief minister?
The incumbent Edappadi Palanisami or Pannerselvam who was forced out of office by Sasikala months after the death of Jayalalithaa.
The Edappadi faction says he has already proved majority on the floor of the Assembly with 122 MLAs in a House of 234.
Pannerselvam who was chief minister when Jaya died, contends he also enjoyed majority when he was forced to resign by Sasikala shortly after she illegally usurped the position of interim general secretary.
Her plans were stymied by the Supreme Court verdict which held her guilty of corruption, leading to her disqualification to hold public office, a six-year bar which will come into force after she serves her three-year jail term.
2. Another sticking point is who should be general secretary once the two factions merge?
Jayalalithaa headed the party as well as the government when she was in control of AIADMK.
Sasikala, citing this precedent, eased out Pannerselvam on the grounds that dual authority leads to friction between the party and the government.
In the new situation, the two groups will have to settle for one or the other, but not both. As a compromise, the Sasikala faction leaders have proposed a committee of senior leaders from both sides to run the party.
The Election Commission has put the hearing of the petitions by the two factions on the party symbol to June. Therefore, the two sides have time till then to work out a way for reunion.
Edited by Jhinuk Sen