Charges of criminal conspiracy were framed against Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK) leader TTV Dhinakaran by a Delhi court on Tuesday. The case relates to the alleged bribery of election Commission officials for the two leaves symbol for the party. Dhinakaran, a former AIADMK leader, was put on trial after pleading not guilty before the court. The court fixed December 17 for beginning the trial by recording evidence in the case.
Dhinakaran was expelled from the AIADMK and was arrested in April 2017 and later granted bail. The court had on November 17 ordered framing of charges against him. He had floated AMMK after his expulsion from the AIADMK.
The court framed charges against Dhinakaran for the alleged offences punishable under Indian Penal Code sections 120B (criminal conspiracy) and 201 (destruction of evidence) of Indian Penal Code (IPC) and under the Prevention of Corruption (PC) Act.
Sukesh Chandrasekar, an alleged middleman who is in judicial custody, was earlier put on trial in the case for the alleged offences of criminal conspiracy, destruction of evidence under the IPC and under the PC Act. TP Mallikarjun, Dhinakaran’s aide, and a man identified as B Kumar were also put on trial for these offences. In 2017, the Delhi Police’s Crime Branch filed a chargesheet alleging that Chandrasekar had conspired with Dhinakaran and others to bribe poll panel officials to get the two leaves symbol for Jayalalithaa aide Sasikala-led AIADMK faction. Dhinakaran won the bypolls in the Radha Krishnan Nagar Assembly constituency in December 2017 under the ‘pressure cooker’ symbol with a margin of over 40,000 votes.
In October, the Madras High Court upheld Tamil Nadu Speaker P Dhanapal's decision of disqualifying 18 AIADMK MLAs. The verdict came as a huge setback for Dhinakaran. The 18 rebel AIADMK MLAs were disqualified on September 18 last year under the anti-defection law after they met the governor and expressed a loss of confidence in Chief Minister Palaniswami. The 18 disqualified MLAs are loyal to the sidelined AIADMK leader TTV Dhinakaran, who has now formed his own party the AMMK.