Image used for representational purposes only.
Image used for representational purposes only.

Tahsildar held for graft alleges ‘conspiracy’ in Chennai; bail petition binned by court

Superior officers and the Election Commission of India (ECI) appreciated her for this and her name was recommended for a state award, Saroja claimed.

CHENNAI: P Saroja, the Chennai tahsildar who was arrested by the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC) on May 14 for alleged corruption, has claimed that the case was the result of a conspiracy against her. According to her, she was being framed for her “honest activities” like preventing alleged booth capturing in the 2024 Lok Sabha poll, unearthing several land mafia cases, and also sealing a local councillor’s unauthorised building which housed a TASMAC bar.

Saroja was arrested on charges of taking Rs 3 lakh as bribe from Pon Thangavel, an activist, for razing encroachments in Injambakkam on East Coast Road (ECR). The DVAC sleuths alleged that she asked her husband’s colleague, police constable Arunkumar, to collect the bribe on her behalf and that they caught him red-handed.

In her second bail petition which was dismissed by a Chennai court last week, the tahsildar said she had single-handedly prevented a booth-capturing attempt at a polling centre in Mylapore during the Lok Sabha election on April 19. Superior officers and the Election Commission of India (ECI) appreciated her for this and her name was recommended for a state award, Saroja claimed.

The suspect also said that she had submitted a report to the government on various encroachments committed by major companies and government officials on the ECR. She had issued a preliminary demolition notice to one “ASV” who had constructed an 11-floor building worth several crores and the DVAC trapped her before the notice could be executed, she said

In the bail petition, she also claimed to be responsible for issuing a sealing notice on March 16 to an unauthorised building owned by a councillor near the Race Course area, where he was running a TASMAC bar. She also cited her physical disability which made it difficult for her to use toilets in the prison.

Noting that the nature of the alleged offences in the case was serious, the Special Judge at the court for cases under the Prevention of Corruption Act dismissed her bail petition on June 4. The judge also noted that the other defence taken by her could be considered only during the trial hearing.

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The New Indian Express
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