RK Nagar poll: Rs 15 lakh seized, 28 arrested for distributing money to voters

Chennai: Around Rs 15 lakh was seized and 28 persons were arrested on Wednesday for their alleged roles in various incidents of money distribution to voters and violence in the run up to the April 12 RK Nagar assembly bypoll.

The day also saw the Election Commission ordering transfer of 22 police officials, including two IPS officers, out of R K Nagar even as the opposition parties lodged complaints with Tamil Nadu Chief Electoral Officer Rajesh Lakhoni against the alleged distribution of money to voters by the AIADMK’s TTV Dinakaran faction.

Poll authorities said seizure of Rs 14.92 lakh was made by EC’s flying squads and static surveillance teams in RK Nagar where bypoll was necessitated due to former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa’s death.

While three AIADMK activists (Dinakaran’s Amma faction) were arrested for allegedly attacking DMK cadres over a row, 25 others were arrested on the basis of 15 cases registered for alleged distribution of money to voters, police said.

The attack on DMK men was over a row related to the alleged money distribution, they added.

Meanwhile, videos of alleged money distribution in R K Nagar and markings made in the area to facilitate it are doing the rounds in social media and messaging app Whatsapp.

DMK working president M K Stalin visited a hospital where party cadres were admitted and alleged that Dinakaran-led AIADMK faction was trying to buy democracy using money power.

Speaking to reporters here, he said DMK was preparing to legally deal with the matter, besides taking it up with poll authorities.

Commenting on the alleged money distribution, PMK chief Ramadoss demanded countermanding of RK Nagar bypoll and said it should be held after the cash distribution’s impact faded.

The bypoll should be held by drafting officers only from outside Tamil Nadu and by deploying Central police forces, he said.

EC replaced Additional Police Commissioner (North) MC Sarangan with H M Jayaram (now IGP, Operations) besides 21 other police personnel.

Meanwhile DMK Rajya Sabha MP, R S Barathi in a petition to Chief Electoral Officer Rajesh Lakhoni said, “The ruling party (Dinakaran faction) is planning to continue the illegal distribution of money to voters. We, herewith, enclose proof

of the illegal distribution of money.” He demanded steps to stop it.

Former Minister K P Munusamy of O Panneerselvam-led faction too petitioned the CEO on the matter.

CPI(M) State Secretary G Ramakrishnan too alleged in his petition to the CEO that there was money distribution in RK Nagar at the behest of AIADMK Amma faction nominee TTV Dinakaran.

He also demanded that Dianakarn be disqualified from running the poll for indulging in electoral malpractices of distributing money to voters.

“Despite informing the observers about distribution of Rs 5,000 for voters, they neither arrived at the spot nor took action,” he told reporters here.

In her plea to the CEO, BJP state president Tamilisai Soundararajan too made several references on the alleged money distribution and sought steps to halt the corrupt practice and ensure free and fair election.

To a question, she said if money distribution cannot be halted, they should countermand the bypoll.”