A special court today refused to grant bail to an alleged middleman, arrested in the Election Commission bribery case involving AIADMK (Amma) faction leader T T V Dhinakaran, saying probe showed he was the key accused. Special Judge Poonam Chaudhry dismissed the bail plea of Sukesh Chandrashekar, who was arrested on April 16 and had sought the relief for the second time on the ground of parity with Dhinakaran. The court said his counsel’s contention that he was liable to be released on bail on the ground of parity with Dhinakaran was “without merits as Chandrashekar was the main executor of the conspiracy to bribe the officials of the Election Commission of India”. The court said Chandrashekar had “collected Rs two crore sent through hawala channel out of which Rs 1.3 crore was recovered from him at the time of the raid. As per allegations in the FIR, co-accused Dhinakaran was a conspirator.”
While rejecting his second bail application, the court there was no change in the factual situation and a subsequent application lies only on further development and events. “The counsel’ contention that court cannot distinguish between co-conspirators is a matter to be considered at the time of trial and not at this stage,” it said. Advocates Vijay Aggarwal and Anand Pandey, appearing for Chandrashekar, had claimed that he was falsely implicated and made a scapegoat and the police is yet to identify the public servant, who was said to be lured by the accused. Public prosecutor Balbir Singh had claimed the police has recovered a CD containing the alleged telephonic conversations between Chandrashekar and Dhinakaran. He said Chandrashekar promised Dhinakaran that he will not only arrange the symbol for his faction but also fix the poll date as per certain auspicious astrological time at the behest of the leader.
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Dhinakaran, his close aide Mallikarjuna, suspected hawala operators Nathu Singh and Lalit Kumar have been granted bail. Dhinakaran was arrested here on the night of April 25 after four days of questioning for allegedly attempting to bribe Election Commission (EC) officials for the symbol. His faction had hoped to obtain the symbol for the bypoll to the R K Nagar Assembly seat in Tamil Nadu, which was later cancelled by the EC after the alleged irregularities were reported. The bypoll was necessitated by the death of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, who represented the constituency.
The EC had frozen the AIADMK’s symbol after the two factions of the party — one led by Dhinakaran’s aunt Sasikala and the other by former chief minister O Panneerselvam — staked a claim to it. Mallikarjuna was arrested for allegedly facilitating a Rs 50-crore deal between Dhinakaran and Chandrashekar. Dhinakaran has been accused of arranging the money from undisclosed sources and getting it transferred from Chennai to Delhi through illegal channels.