HC seeks report on 'hostage' MLAs

High drama continues in Tamil Nadu

HC seeks report on 'hostage' MLAs

The Madras High Court on Friday directed the police to look into allegations that the V K Sasikala camp had locked up AIADMK MLAs at a resort.

As the power struggle continued, AIADMK general secretary Sasikala struck back at E Madhusudanan, the party’s presidium chairman, a day after he had switched loyalties to join the camp of Chief Minister O Panneerselvam.

The senior leader was stripped of the post and expelled from the primary membership of the party – a decision the rival camp is unwilling to accept as legitimate.

Madhusudanan had earlier written to the Election Commission not to recognise Sasikala as AIADMK general secretary. Governor Vidyasagar Rao continued to keep Panneerselvam and Sasikala, rival contenders for the chief minister’s post, guessing about his next move.

In a related development, the apex court refused to grant an urgent hearing on a PIL that sought to put on hold Sasikala’s swearing-in as chief minister till it passed judgement in a corruption case against her. She is co-accused in the disproportionate assets case.

Rao held discussions with state chief secretary Girija Vaidhyanathan, Director General of Police T K Rajendran and Chennai Police Commissioner S George.

Besides law and order, Raj Bhavan sources said, he discussed with them allegations that the ruling party MLAs were lodged at a resort on East Coast Road.

DMK working president M K Stalin, too, met the governor in the evening and discussed the developments following Panneerselvam’s rebellion over the planned elevation of Sasikala.

The governor said he has not sent any report either to the Centre or the President as reported in a section of media.

Panneerselvam, who met Rao on Thursday, had lodged a complaint that the AIADMK MLAs were forcibly detained.

A few hours after this meeting, the Madras High Court also asked the state police to file a detailed report on the status of AIADMK MLAs who have been reported lodged in various resorts near the city.

Panneerselvam had claimed that he was being forced to make way for her.
After sacking Madhusudanan, Sasikala appointed former minister and senior leader K A Sengottaiyan as the AIADMK presidium chairman. Madhusudanan has been with the AIADMK right from the days of MGR, who floated the party.

Meanwhile, security forces deployed at Madras University’s Centenary Auditorium were totally withdrawn as there were no signs of the Sasikala’s swearing-in ceremony taking place after her election as the legislature party leader.

Former minister S P Shanmuganathan, who had extended his support to Panneerselvam, lodged a complaint with the Chennai police commissioner about MLAs being confined at resorts.

In the complaint, he alleged that he had somehow managed to escape from virtual confinement but other MLAs were still under “illegal detention and confinement” under the instructions of the AIADMK high command.

V C Arukutty, MLA from Kavundampalayam in Coimbatore and a supporter of Panneerselvam, also alleged that the MLAs had been detained.

“The MLAs are not reachable. They have been detained. They are legislators elected by the people, so release them. Let them go and meet people,” he told reporters here.

But the rival camp rejected the allegations. “We are free. We are keenly awaiting governor’s invitation (to Sasikala to form government). We are not children to be detained or abducted as is being reported in a section of media,” Perundurai MLA ND Venkadachalam said.


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