Filmmaker K Bhagyaraj has resigned as president of the South Indian Film Writers Association in the wake of the the plagiarism row surrounding Tamil actor’s Vijay’s upcoming film Sarkar, he announced through a statement.

Bhagyaraj, who was unanimously chosen for the post a few months ago, issued a statement on November 2 suggesting that elections be held to choose his replacement.

KV Rajendran, a writer and assistant director, had alleged that the premise for AR Murugadoss’s Sarkar was the same as that of a script that he had registered with the South Indian Film Writers Association in 2007. Both stories examine the issue of bogus voting. After an investigation, Bhagyaraj had released a statement acknowledging a similarity between Rajendran’s Sengol and Sarkar.

Rajendran decided to take legal action, but reached an out-of-court settlement with Murugadoss last week after the Sarkar director agreed to give him special mention in the November 6 release. Murugadoss said that while the screenplay and the dialogue is his, he gives credit to Rajendran for coming up with a similar concept 11 years ago.

Bhagyaraj was initially criticised by Murugadoss over his stance and slammed on social media by Vijay fans.

Sarkar (2018).

In the statement announcing his resignation, Bhagyaraj said that a team from the South Indian Film Writers Association had found merit in the complaint about Sarkar. After deciding to back the complaint, Bhagyaraj “had to face many inconveniences”, according to The News Minute’s translation of his press statement. “...A few malpractices in the Association came to my attention. A lot of rules also need changing. Unless these are corrected, I think it is not possible to protect the reputation of the Association and the welfare of its members.”

Bhagyaraj attributed the challenges to the fact that he was chosen for the post and did not face elections. “The only way for this change is to get all those who have been elected without competition like me to resign and appoint them to the responsible positions through proper election. However, I do not have the right to compel others,” he said, according to The Indian Express. The filmmaker also apologised to Sarkar’s production house, Sun Pictures, for revealing the premise of the film through the plagiarism investigation.

Bhagyaraj’s son, Shanthnu, shared his father’s statement on Twitter and claimed that the decision has nothing to do with the Sarkar issue.