Journalist Nakkheeran Gopal, the editor of popular Tamil weekly 'Nakkheeran', was arrested this morning at the Chennai airport on charges of defamation for allegations against Governor Banwarilal Purohit in an article.
Mr Gopal was arrested when he was about to board a flight to Pune.
The article that has landed him in trouble was on the Tamil Nadu college professor arrested in the "sex-for-marks" scam. Nirmala Devi allegedly pushed girls into offering sexual favours to university officials in return for marks. An alleged telephone recording of her conversation with a few women students went viral.
Mr Gopal quoted a police officer in the article as claiming that Nirmala Devi had confessed to meeting the Governor, who is also chancellor of the university, and R Rajagopal, the Chief Secretary to the Governor, with women students. Banwarilal Purohit was not investigated in the case, the article claimed.
Chennai police officers said the article was offensive and defamatory.
The Governor has denied the allegations and clarified that he never met the accused professor. He has also appointed an inquiry by retired bureaucrat R Santhanam.
Reports suggested that the police wants to charge Mr Gopal under a criminal law on assaulting the governor, a senior police officer said noncommittally: "We will soon inform the sections invoked. I can confirm the arrest for the offensive story".
Over the years, Tamil Nadu has seen the government filing defamation cases against journalists, publishers and even politicians for their writings and public speeches. During J Jayalalithaa's rule, more than 200 cases were filed.
An official of the Governor's Raj Bhavan said: "Since July the magazine has been publishing baseless reports with malafide intention of tarnishing the Governor."
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