- AIADMK's party symbol in dispute between rival factions
- Delhi cops say Dinakaran sent middleman to bribe officials
- He was willing to pay 50 crores, middleman allegedly states
The police has said there is no evidence to indict Election Commission officials in the alleged corruption.
Mr Dinakaran has been charged with conspiracy and corruption in the police case. Sukesh Chandrasekhar, the man who he had allegedly deputed to buy the symbol for him, was found at a hotel in South Delhi. The 27-year-old allegedly confessed to the scheme. The police say he is already named in at least 12 criminal cases in the south and has been arrested earlier for cheating and fraud. Sources also insist that they have audio recordings that will serve as crucial evidence.
"I totally deny this allegation, I don't know anybody by this name - Sukash Chandrasekhar. I did not speak to him in my lifetime ever," Mr Dinakaran told NDTV this morning.
"We received a secret information. Sukesh Chandrasekhar had said he will get two leaves symbol for the Sasikala camp. For this, he was demanding Rs 50 crore from Dinakaran," said senior police officer Madhur Verma.
The AIADMK cleaved into two camps since December when its leader, J Jayalalithaa, died while she was Chief Minister. Her closest aide, VK Sasikala, was named the new party chief but was jailed within weeks after the Supreme Court found her guilty of corruption.
However, before that, another senior leader, O Panneerselvam, who regularly stood-in for Ms Jayalalithaa as Chief Minister, said he was the legitimate new boss and founded his own party. Ms Sasikala, before heading to jail, placed her nephew, Mr Dinakaran, in-charge of the faction loyal to her.
The Election Commission has not ruled yet on which group is the "real AIADMK" - the winner will accrue the party symbol, a crucial asset and instantly recognisable by lakhs of voters.
The battle between the rival camps peaked with campaigning for the by-election for Ms Jayalalithaa's constituency of RK Nagar in Chennai. Mr Dinakaran is his group's candidate. Large amounts of cash were being offered to voters ahead of the election scheduled for April 12, so the Election Commission cancelled it and not yet decided on a new date for voting.
Mr Dinakaran was among the congregation of male relatives who Ms Sasikala had to disown publicly to reconcile with Ms Jayalalithaa after the women, who lived together, had a falling out.
Ms Sasikala's family is distrusted in Tamil Nadu on account of various corruption scandals.
Mr Dinkaran denied that the recent cash-for-votes allegations against him are contributing factors to a surging dissent against his leadership. "On Tamil New Year day, they all came to wish me, we are all together. Nobody asked me to quit or anything," he told NDTV. Mr Panneerselvam, on the other hand, has made many references to seeking "a merger" with the enemy camp.