Former Agriculture Minister and DMK Salem district secretary Veerapandi S Arumugam, who is facing six cases of which five pertain to land grabbing, is the fifth accused to be booked under Goondas Act. The others include his nephew K Suresh Kumar (former Vice Chairman of Salem Dist Panchayat), his personal assistant Koushika Boopathy and ex-DMK councillor Gym Ramu. In the June 3 attack on Angammal Colony residents, Panaimarathupatti Raja, a senior DMK functionary, was also booked under Goondas Act.
As news about the DMK leader’s detention spread, tension prevailed in some of the party’s stronghold areas. At Edappadi, DMK town secretary K Jayaboopathy attempted self-immolation near the bus stand but was arrested in time along with his aide, M Easwaran.
Land Grab Case
The Angammal Colony case relates to the usurping of 22,000 sq ft of prime land near the Salem new bus stand by forced eviction of 23 families during the DMK regime. A case was registered on July 15, 2011. Two days later, based on a complaint by V Ravichandran, director, Premier Roller Flour Mill, Arumugam was implicated in the case relating to forcible acquisition of land.
Balamohanraj, a VHP functionary from Dasanickenpatti, complained that his land too was usurped by Arumugam’s associates. A case was booked on July 29.
In order to gain access to Angammal Colony, Arumugam allegedly forced Coimbatore Jewellers, Salem, to part with land adjacent to the colony in which the complainant Premnath wanted to put up a new showroom. A case was filed on September 4, 2011.
On October 6, 2011, the City Land Grab Cell booked cases against Arumugam and his associates under several sections, including the Prevention of Corruption Act and Arms Act.