In an unexpected development, former Agriculture Minister and DMK Salem district secretary Veerapandi S Arumugam (73) was detained under the Goondas Act on Monday evening.
In his detention order, Salem Police Commissioner K C Mahali described Arumugam as a “slum grabber.” He is the second former DMK minister to be detained under the Goondas Act, which provides for a minimum detention of one year, in recent months. Earlier, former Fisheries Minister K P P Samy was booked under the Goondas Act (since quashed).
“Thiru Veerapandi S Arumugam, ex-minister has acted as a ‘Slum Grabber’ as defined in Section 2(h) of the Tamil Nadu Act 14 of 1982. He was hence detained by the Commissioner of Police on June 18, 2012,” a press release said.
The Goondas Act is normally invoked against those who pose a threat to public peace and tranquility.
Arumugam, who is presently lodged in the Vellore Central Prison for allegedly instigating arson in Angammal Colony (a grabbed slum habitat which was restored to its owners) on June 3, is facing six cases, of which five pertain to land grabbing. Last year, he was arrested in connection with grabbing the Angammal Colony land, but was subsequently released on bail.