EC bribery: HC notice to Delhi Police on Sukesh’s bail plea

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New Delhi, Aug 10 (PTI): The Delhi High Court Thursday issued notice to the Delhi Police on the bail plea of Sukesh Chandrashekar, arrested in the Election Commission bribery case involving AIADMK (Amma) faction leader T T V Dhinakaran. Justice Ashutosh Kumar sought the response along with a status report from the police before the next date of hearing on September 5.

Appearing for Chandrashekar, senior advocate Aman Lekhi sought bail for him and said he had been in jail for the last four months. In the bail plea, filed through advocate Gurpreet Singh, Chandrashekar submitted that his custody was not required as the investigation had been completed. Chandrashekar, who was arrested on April 16, was denied bail once by the high court and twice by the trial court.

The high court had on June 15 rejected his bail plea on the ground that the police had seized a fake Rajya Sabha member ID card from his possession, which was a “serious threat to Parliament’s security”. However, the police opposed the plea saying the money trail had to be ascertained.

A chargesheet under all sections levelled against him was filed on July 14.

The police alleged in the chargesheet that Dhinakaran and Chandrashekar conspired to bribe Election Commission (EC) officials to get the ‘two leaves’ symbol for their party faction. The Delhi Police Crime Branch also included in the chargesheet allegations of forgery for purpose of cheating, using forged document as genuine, possessing a forged document, intending to use it as genuine and criminal conspiracy.

He was also charged with the alleged offence of taking gratification by illegal means to influence public servants under the Prevention of Corruption Act. If convicted, the offences carry a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

Chandrashekar had moved the high court last week alleging that he was tortured despite an order not to subject him to violence inside Tihar Jail. The high court on July 24 had warned of “serious action” and said any such incident would not be tolerated.

He had claimed that he was being tortured by jail officials in connivance with Tamil Nadu Special Police, which is handling the security of Tihar Jail, because he was supporting the AIADMK (Amma) faction. The high court had then asked police to file a status report after verification of the facts.

It had also asked Tihar Jail authorities to ensure that Chandrashekar was not subjected to any cruelty/violence and that he was provided all protection.

Chandrashekar was arrested for allegedly taking money from Dhinakaran to bribe EC officials to get the AIADMK’s ‘two leaves’ symbol for the Sasikala faction. According to the police, Rs 1.3 crore in cash was allegedly recovered from him at the time of the raid at a hotel in Chanakyapuri area of south Delhi.

Dhinakaran was arrested here on the night of April 25 after four days of questioning for allegedly attempting to bribe EC officials for the symbol. His aide Mallikarjuna was also arrested the same day.

Mallikarjuna was arrested for allegedly facilitating a Rs 50 crore deal between Dhinakaran and Chandrashekar. Dhinakaran was accused of arranging the money from undisclosed sources and getting it transferred from Chennai to Delhi through illegal channels.

His faction had hoped to obtain the symbol for the bypoll to the R K Nagar Assembly seat in Tamil Nadu which was later cancelled after the alleged irregularities surfaced, according to the police.

The bypoll was necessitated by the death of Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa who represented the constituency. The EC had frozen the AIADMK’s symbol after the two factions of the party — one led by Dhinakaran’s aunt Sasikala and the other by former chief minister O Panneerselvam — staked a claim to it.

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