DELHI/CHENNAI: Merger talks between the warring factions of the AIADMK made some progress with the ruling faction removing party general secretary VK Sasikala’s portraits from the headquarters and replacing them with that of the late Jayalalithaa. This action follows when the party's former deputy general secretary was remanded to five-day police custody over allegations of bribery.
“TTV Dinakaran was arrested on charges of attempting to bribe Election Commission officials to get favourable order in petition for ‘Two Leaves’. He arranged money from undisclosed sources and got it transferred through illegal channels from Chennai to Delhi,” said Madhur Verma, DCP, Crime Branch.
Earlier, police had said that Sukesh Chandrasekar, alleged middleman in the case, struck a deal for Rs 50 crore with Dhinakaran to help him secure the party’s symbol that was frozen by the EC. The police also claimed to have recovered Rs 1.3 crore in cash and two luxury cars from Sukesh. Lawyers said the police had sought custody for seven days, but were granted only five days.
The plea for custodial interrogation was vehemently opposed by senior lawyer Vikas Pahwa, representing Dhinakaran, saying the accused has been joining investigation for the last four days and the police have not produced any material as to why his grilling in custody was needed. Meanwhile, merger talks between the warring factions made some progress with the ruling faction removing party general secretary VK Sasikala’s portraits from the headquarters and replacing them with that of Jayalalithaa.
The OPS faction called the move a ‘positive step’. Though both factions were yet to begin formal talks in open, discussions were underway. Law Minister C Ve Shanmugam confirmed this to media saying the leaders had discussions on Tuesday night. “Without the family of Sasikala, we are all brothers. We will sort out the differences among ourselves,” said KP Munusamy, heading the talks panel for the OPS faction. Since both factions have faith in auspicious day, they may commence talks on Friday.