Chennai: A member of the DMK has earned the dubious distinction of becoming the first law-maker from Tamil Nadu to be disqualified from Parliament because he has been found guilty of corruption charges.
TM Selvaganapathy has been found guilty by a court in Chennai for a financial scam embedded in the construction of sheds used at crematoriums across Tamil Nadu in 1995. He has been sentenced to two years in prison. At the time, the politician was the Rural Development minister in Jayalalithaa's government and a member of her AIADMK. He was expelled in 2008 after the graft charges surfaced and then joined the DMK.
In 2010, he became a member of the Rajya Sabha.
In July last year, the Supreme Court delivered a landmark judgement ordering that any law-maker convicted in a criminal case that carries a sentence of two years or more loses office immediately.
That ruling meant that Bihar leader Lalu Yadav was evicted from Parliament in September when he was convicted of corruption during his earlier term as chief minister. The Supreme Court's judgement means that Lalu cannot contest an election for at least six years. He has appealed against his conviction.
The DMK is trawling this election with several of its top leaders tagged to serious charges of corruption. A Raja, former Telecom Minister, has been accused of conferring out-of-turn licenses for mobile networks upon ineligible companies. M Kanimozhi, daughter of DMK chief M Karunanidhi, is being tried for helping Mr Raja to receive a kickback from a telecom company through a TV channel that she co-owns. Both leaders have denied any wrongdoing.