The Tamil Nadu unit of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad on Friday supported the appointment of Dr Subbiah Shanmugam as a board member of the upcoming All India Institute of Medical Sciences project at Thoppur in Madurai, The Indian Express reported.

Shanmugam is the national president of the ABVP, which is the student wing of the Bharatiya Janata Party. He had been in the news in July after he was accused of urinating outside the apartment of a 60-year-old woman in Chennai over parking of his car. Members of Parliament belonging to different political parties in Tamil Nadu had criticised his appointment, accusing the BJP of endorsing indecent behaviour.

The Tamil Nadu unit of the ABVP claimed that Opposition parties in the state were blowing the matter out of proportion to gain political mileage. G Perumal, the secretary of the Tamil Nadu unit of the ABVP, said Shanmugam’s impeccable career showed his integrity and sincerity.

“To malign his illustrious career and to derail the developmental activities in establishing AIIMS-Madurai, VCK [Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi], DMK [Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam], and other allied parties are dragging his personal issues into the professional career of a renowned cancer surgeon,” he said. “[VCK leader] Thol Thirumavalavan’s comment about Hindu women has created an uproar in the state. To divert that issue, the Opposition parties are making a hue and cry about an incident that has been resolved.”

He also accused media of spreading false propaganda and alleged that Opposition parties in the state wanted to disrupt the appointment of a member of a backward community to the AIIMS board. “They are trying to disown the son of the soil,” Perumal said.

C Dhilipan, a national executive member of the ABVP, dismissed the camera footage allegedly showing Shanmugam urinating at the doorstep of the elderly woman. He said that there was no proof that the man in the visuals was Shanmugam. Dhilipan said that the incident was an internal-parking lot matter between two families, adding that the woman had withdrawn the complaint.

“Just because someone has given a complaint it doesn’t make a person guilty,” said Dhilipan. “Until it is proven, he is innocent. There are few elements like DMK and VCK, who are spreading malicious campaign against a past issue that has been resolved amicably.”

He alleged that the parties concerned were raising the matter in order to postpone the process of establishing AIIMS in Madurai.

He further said that the political parties were unfairly raising the matter as it was the first time a Tamilian was on the board of a national organisation, according to The Hindu. On a question on whether the ABVP was conducting an internal inquiry against Shanmugam, Dhilipan said the organisation’s national team could answer the query.

In the complaint against Shanmugam, the woman had submitted a video clip that purportedly shows the ABVP leader throwing garbage and urinating at her door. Shanmugam had denied all allegations and claimed that the video had been doctored. He admitted that he temporarily used the woman’s parking space, but claimed that he found another area later. Days later, the ABVP said the family had withdrawn their complaint.

“Misunderstandings between two families now stand cleared, and all issues between the two parties have now resolved,” the ABVP had claimed. But Balaji Vijayaraghavan, nephew of the woman, had said the complaint had not been technically withdrawn, though he acknowledged that the family held talks with the ABVP.