Chennai court refuses to remand men who linked CM Palaniswami to 2017 theft at Jayalalithaa’s estate
Magistrate A Saritha asked the prosecution to substantiate the charge that the two men had caused ‘public unrest’ by accusing the Tamil Nadu chief minister.
A magistrate in Chennai on Monday refused to remand to judicial custody the two people who were arrested for alleging that Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami had a role in the 2017 burglary-murder at former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa’s Kodanadu estate in Nilgiris district of the state, The Hindu reported.
KV Sayan and Valayar Manoj are suspects in the case involving the murder of a security guard and the theft of cash and documents from the summer home of Jayalalithaa in April 2017, four months after her death in December 2016. Two months later, an accountant working at the estate was found dead at his house in Kotagiri.
The two, who were out on bail, told Narada News Chief Executive Officer and former Tehelka journalist Mathew Samuel in a video released on Friday that Palaniswami was behind the burglary. On Sunday, they were arrested based on a complaint filed by All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam information technology wing office-bearer VV Raj Sathyan.
On Monday, when the two men were produced in court, Magistrate A Saritha asked the state prosecutors to substantiate the charges against them. They were arrested on charges of “promoting enmity” and “public mischief”. She also reportedly asked if the police had first questioned the complainant before arresting the two men.
Attempts by the prosecution to secure judicial custody of Sayan and Manoj kept the court busy till nearly midnight on Monday, according to the The New Indian Express.
In the video, Sayan had claimed that Jayalalithaa’s former driver Kanakaraj said that Palaniswami had asked him to hire people from outside Tamil Nadu to steal Rs 2,000 crore and some documents from the estate and to hand it over to him. Kanakaraj was then killed in a road accident in Salem. Four more persons connected with the robbery had died soon after the incident, unidentified officials from the Coimbatore jail had told Narada News.
On Saturday, Palaniswami had denied any links to the kidnapping and murder case. “The people who put it out and those behind them will face severe action,” the chief minister had warned. “I have filed a complaint with the police and they have taken it up.”
The Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) have sought inquiries into the case, while the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and the Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam have demanded that the chief minister resign.