K.V. Sayan and Valayar Manoj are the two suspects in the 2017 dacoity and murder at former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa’s estate in Kodanad. In a video conversation, last week with journalist Mathew Samuel had linked Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami with the break-in at the estate.
This had caused a storm in Tamil Nadu politics with chief minister crying wolf and seeing a bigger conspiracy against him and the opposition seeking immediate resignation.
In an interesting turn of events, the duo were arrested in Delhi on Sunday by a team of Tamil Nadu policemen and they were immediately flown to Chennai for questioning.
The video was released at a press conference addressed by Samuel and the two suspects in Delhi on Friday.
In the 16-minute video, Sayan and Manoj had claimed that key conspirator Kanakaraj (since dead) had told them about his proximity to Palaniswami. However, the Chief Minister dismissed the allegations as baseless and said strong action would be taken against those behind the making of the video.
The Central Crime Branch of the Chennai Police had registered a case against Samuel and others on charges of “promoting enmity between different groups” and “doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony” on a complaint lodged by the ruling AIADMK’s Information Technology wing.
The police have also accused the journalist of “publishing and circulating a rumour with intent to cause, or which is likely to cause, fear or alarm to the public, or to any section of the public whereby any person may be induced to commit an offence against the State or against the public tranquillity.”
However, Mathew in a Facebook post on Sunday said he stood by his report. Soon after the arrest, Samuel in a video message circulated on WhatsApp claimed that the police came to Sector-9 in Dwaraka and forced Sayan and Manoj into a private vehicle with a police sticker. “They were kidnapped,” he claimed.
Parrying questions on the contents of the First Information Report, a senior officer of the Chennai Police said that preliminary investigation had revealed that the people involved in the making of the video tried to establish contact with some sources to “negotiate” a deal. Refusing to elaborate the details of the negotiation or nature of the alleged deal, the officer said more information would be known only after the arrest of all the persons in the “conspiracy”.
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