- Sukash Chandrasekhar arrested in a Delhi hotel on Monday
- Says AIDMK boss Diankaran told him to give bribes for party symbol
- Election Commission deciding which of 2 factions is the "real" AIADMK
So was 1.3 crores. In cash. Money that Mr Chandrasekhar, a resident of Bengaluru, claims he was meant to use to bribe Election Commission officials on behalf of TTV Dinakaran, the man running Tamil Nadu's ruling party, the AIADMK. The politician allegedly told Mr Chandrasekhar that he was willing to spend upto 50 crores to "buy" the party's two-leaves symbol, declared off-limits by the Election Commission while it decides which of two competing groups is the authentic AIADMK. Mr Dinakaran, heads one team. The other is led by former Chief Minister O Panneerselvam.
Mr Chandrasekhar was arrested by the Delhi Police after what they describe as an alert about black money moving through the city. He claims that of Mr Dinakran's 50-crore allotment to acquire the AIADMK symbol, 10 crores had already been paid to him to get down to business in the capital. The police has clarified that there is no evidence to suggest that Election Commission officials had yet been approached with bribes.
He is named in at least 12 criminal cases in Bengaluru and Chennai on charges ranging from cheating to forgery. In Delhi, he reportedly owns several fancy farmhouses, is "well networked", according to the police, and has known Mr Dinakaran for about four years.
Mr Chandrasekhar dropped out of school in Class 12. By the time he was 17, he was linked to a scam in his home town allegedly based on "selling" government contracts- serving as a middleman between vendors and government officials who were being bribed to hire them. He could not be arrested because he was a minor. A year later, he was caught in a similar swindle in Chennai and did some jail time before getting bail.
Expanding his business interests to the North, Mr Chandrasekhar, according to the police, launched a company in Delhi in 2013 which quickly became worth 3,000 crores by allegedly selling fake insurance policies. The police - which has accused him of corruption and criminal conspiracy today - said that he used fake ID cards and presented himself as a parliamentarian; two of his cars found today at the hotel where he was arrested - a BMW and a Mercedes - had fake boards declaring "Member of Parliament" above their license plates.
Mr Chandrasekar had been arrested by the Mumbai Police in 2015 along with his wife, actress Lena Marie Paul, for allegedly cheating investors in a different case of fraud.
A senior crime branch source said, "Chandrasekhar claimed to Mr Dinakaran that he was very well - connected with power centres in the national capital, and had even boasted that he could get the jailed AIADMK leader Sasikala out of the Bangalore prison. "
VK Sasikala is Mr Dinakaran's aunt and was AIADMK chief J Jayalalithaa's live-in aide. When Ms Jayalalithaa died in December, Ms Sasikala took charge of the party and then fashioned an attempt to become Chief Minister herself. That ambition was curtailed by the Supreme Court finding her guilty- along with Ms Jayalalithaa - of corruption. Ms Sasikala was sentenced to four years in a Bengaluru prison, but before her incarceration, she appointed Mr Dinakaran as the party's No 2.
To legitimize his authority, he decided to run from Ms Jayalalithaa's constituency, RK Nagar in Chennai. After allegations of his camp paying crores as bribes to the public, the Election Commission cancelled the vote that was scheduled for last week. Mr Panneerselvam, who was Ms Jayalalithaa's regular stand-in as Chief Minister, says the faction that backs him is the real AIADMK. Ms Sasikakala's camp, which is much larger, makes a similar claim.