New Delhi, Nov 17 (IANS) In a setback to sidelined AIADMK leader T.T.V. Dhinakaran, a Delhi court on Saturday framed charges, including attempts to bribe Election Commission officials, in the “Two Leaves” symbol bribery case after rejecting his plea for discharge.
Special Judge Arun Bhardwaj framed charges under Section 120 B (criminal conspiracy), 201 (destruction of evidence) of the Indian Penal Code and under Section 8 (bribes to influence public servant) of the Prevention of Corruption Act against Dhinakaran.
As Dhinakaran was not present in the courtroom, the judge listed the matter for December 5 for recording Dhinakaran’s plea on charges framed against him.
The court has also framed criminal conspiracy and under Section 8 (bribes to influence public servant) of the Prevention of Corruption Act against Dhinakaran’s aide Sukesh Chandershekar and two others –T.P. Mallikarjun and B. Kumar in the case filed and probed by Delhi Police.
The court has also framed charges under Section 170 (impersonating a public servant), 201 (destruction of evidence), 419 (punishment for cheating by personation) 420 (cheating), 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating), 471 (using as genuine a forged document), Section 474 (possessing forged document) of IPC.
After they pleaded not guilty and claimed trial, the court listed the matter for December 17 for recording the statements of prosecution witnesses in the case.
Meanwhile, the court discharged five other accused — Nathu Singh alias Naresh, Lalit Kumar K. Shah, Pulkit Kundra, Jai Vikram Haran and Narender Jain — in the case opining that in the absence of grave suspicion, no charge for conspiracy can be framed against him.
Dhinakaran, now an independent MLA and heading the Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK), is accused of having tried to bribe Election Commission officials to get the “Two Leaves” poll symbol for the faction led by his aunt V.K. Sasikala in the wake of the split in the AIADMK following the death of J. Jayalalithaa.
He was arrested on April 25 last year. He was granted bail on June 1 2017. The bribe amount is said to be of the order of Rs 50 crore.
“Chandershekar has conspired with Dhinakaran and Kumar and pursuant to that conspiracy, he (Chandershekar) accepted a sum of Rs 2 crore sent on behalf of Dhinakaran as a motive or reward for inducing by corrupt or illegal means officials of ECI to pass a favourable order in election symbol matter in favour of Dhinakaran faction,” the court said.
The court observed that there is sufficient evidence on record which shows that Chandershekar had contacted Kumar and had told him that he can influence officials of ECI in election matter.
The conversation between Chandershekar and Dhinakaran was recorded by Chandershekar himself. Later, Chandershekar disappeared the equipment on which telephonic conversation was recorded.
The Delhi Police on July 14 last year chargesheeted Sukesh Chandrashekhar, an aide of Dhinakaran under various sections of the Indian Penal Code related to forgery of valuable security, forgery for purpose of cheating, making a false document and criminal conspiracy among others and under provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
Later, in December 2017 police filed a supplementary chargesheet in the case naming Dhinakaran, his long-time friend Mallikarjuna, alleged middleman Sukesh Chandrashekhar, and others as accused in the case.
The police said a criminal conspiracy was hatched by Chandrashekhar, Dhinakaran and others to bribe the Election Commission officials.
The money recovered from Chandrashekhar was sent by Dhinakaran through illegal channels with the help of others, the police alleged.