- Police accuse AIADMK leader Dinakaran of corruption
- They say he sent middleman to Delhi to "buy" party symbol
- Money recovered from hotel room, Dinakaran denies charges
Mr Chandrasekar, 27, told the police at first that they were wrong, according to the FIR or case filed against him but a search revealed a bag that had bundles of the new 2,000-rupee notes. It added upto 1.3 crores. The FIR says the cops then phoned income tax officials to inform them of the discovery and took Mr Chandrasekar, a resident of Bengaluru to a police station.
The police says Mr Chandrasekar, who has in past been arrested in cities including Mumbai for cheating and fraud, said that the money he was carrying had been supplied by TTV Dinakaran, Tamil Nadu politician. However, Mr Chandrasekar's lawyers deny this.
In its FIR or complaint, the police does not explain why it believes Mr Dinakaran dispatched the cash to Delhi. It says he wanted Election Commission officials to be bribed in exchange for awarding the party symbol of the AIADMK, which governs Tamil Nadu, to the faction that's led by him. "Keeping in view of the facts and circumstances, Sukash...in conspiracy with TTV Dinakaran was trying to obtain a favourable order," says the police case, adding that the money found in the hotel room "has been obtained from TTV Dinakaran."
A smaller group of the AIADMK fronted by former Chief Minister O Panneerselvam, has also claimed rights to the two-leaf symbol, which is how most voters recognize the AIADMK. Because the AIADMK has come undone into competing factions, the Commission in Delhi has asked for time to decide which bloc is to be considered the original AIADMK. Till then, the party symbol remains out of use.
Mr Dinakaran and his relatives feature in an assortment of corruption scandals in Tamil Nadu, which has led to them being christened "the Mannargudi mafia" after their village. Their political power is derived from Mr Dinakaran's aunt, VK Sasikala, who lived for years with J Jayalalithaa, the charismatic and controlling Chief Minister. In 2012, Mr Dinakaran, Ms Sasikala and other members of their family were expelled from the AIADMK by Ms Jayalalithaa for allegedly working against her and trying to influence decisions like the placement of bureaucrats. To win forgiveness, Ms Sasikala, who had been turned out of Ms Jayalalithaa's home, had to publicly disown her relatives.
However, when Ms Jayalalithaa died in December and Ms Sasikala, considered her next of kin, took charge of both the AIADMK and funeral arrangements, her family was at her side. AIADMK leaders at the time defended the reappearance, stating that Ms Sasikala, distraught by her loss, needed relatives to comfort her. Today, it is the family's top billing that threatens to disrupt plans to merge the warring factions. Those opposed to Ms Sasikala say she must be removed from the party along with her nephew; her supporters - including Chief Minister E Palaniswamy - say that's not a commitment they're prepared to make.
In this, the Sasikala camp confronts O Panneerselvam, who was Ms Jayalalithaa's trusted political lieutenant, who served as acting Chief Minister when she was forced to step down on corruption charges. It was for this alleged graft that the Supreme Court in February imprisoned Ms Sasikala in jail, truncating her attempt to become Chief Minister herself. Ms Sasikala then positioned a loyalist as Chief Minister (Palaniswamy) and Mr Dinakaran, her nephew, as Deputy Chief of the AIADMK, ensuring that even in jail, she would be the show-runner.
Mr Dinakaran quickly landed in corruption scandals -before the police case that accuses him of trying to buy the party symbol, he decided to run for office from Ms Jayalalithaa's constituency in Chennai. The election was cancelled because vast amounts of money were found to have been paid by AIADMK leaders to voters to back him - a charge he denies along with others.
He has said he has never even heard of Mr Chandrasekar, let alone conspiring with him to bribe Election Commission officers. But the police has indicated that its evidence- apart from the young middleman's testimony- includes audio tapes.