DMK organising secretary R S Bharathi was arrested by the Central Crime Branch of the Chennai city police on Saturday for allegedly making inflammatory remarks at a party meeting on February 15.
In his speech, Bharati had reportedly said that it was only because of the Dravidian movement that Dalits were given alms and rose to become judges in Tamil Nadu. Referring to a judge, he reportedly said that many Dalits were inducted in the judiciary because of the indulgence of the DMK leadership during former chief minister M Karunanidhi’s tenure. He later issued an apology for his remarks.
Meanwhile, top DMK leaders and former Union ministers T R Baalu and Dayanidhi Maran have also moved the Madras High Court for anticipatory bail fearing arrest on similar charges.
Taking cognizance of the speech, the High Court had directed police to probe the matter and file a case within 30 days. “The arrest was based on a case registered by city police under Section 3 (allegation that the accused has insulted intentionally or intimidated the complainant and such insult or intimidation) of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989. The case was based on a complaint filed by Athi Tamilar Makkal Katchi leader Kalyanasundaram on May 12,” a police officer said. The case was later transferred to the CCB.
Bharati was taken to the city police commissioner’s office from his residence for inquiry early morning and later produced at a district sessions court where he was granted interim bail till June 1. The court observed that prima facie there is a case against him but granted him bail saying that his family members are doctors. “In view of Covid-19 situation… there are possibilities of infection to other inmates of the jail due to the admission of the present accused in the jail,” the court said, stating that it was better to grant him bail.
While police argued that a proper probe has already been conducted and remanding the accused in judicial custody was necessary, DMK’s senior counsel N R Elango and P Wilson alleged that the arrest was politically motivated and lacked thorough investigation.
DMK chief M K Stalin condemned the arrest saying that it has come 100 days after the speech and that Bharathi had already apologised for the remarks. He said the DMK cannot be cowed down by intimidation through arrest.
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