By Special Correspondent
The by-elections to the RK Nagar constituency which fell vacant after the demise of Jayalalithaa was scheduled to be held on 12th April. TTV Dinakaran who became the Deputy Gen Secretary of AIADMK after VK Sasikala was convicted of 4 years imprisonment in Disproportionate Assets case filed his nomination for the by-elections.
There was a widespread complaint that 85 percent of the voters of RK Nagar have been bribed 4,000 rupees per vote by the Dinakaran camp of AIADMK. Following this, the residence and other premises of the Health Minister C.Vijaya Bhaskar were raided by the IT officials. The raids on Vijaya Bhaskar's house showed that the Dinakaran camp had given Rs 4,000 to majority voters in RK Nagar to win the elections.
IT department revealed certain documents to prove that bribe to the tune of 89 crores have been distributed to the voters. They further claimed to have recovered "papers" with signatures of those who received money were found at the residence of Vijaya Bhaskar.
It was further found that some ministers were given a target of total of around 2.25 lacs voters and a budget of more than Rs 89 crore, for the bribes. Simultaneously raids were also conducted at properties of actor-turned-politician Sarathkumar and Dr. MGR Medical University vice-chancellor S Geethalakshmi.
Based on the documents seized in the raids, IT department submitted a detailed secret report to the election commission. The election commission also sought a report from Rajesh Lakhoni. There were hectic discussions in EC New Delhi and finally the EC suspended the by-election to the RK Nagar constituency and released a 29-page report substantiating the reasons for the suspension of the elections.
Let us see some important takeaways from the EC report.
IT raids were conducted in 21 places in Chennai and 11 places elsewhere in the state. Raids were conducted at the residences of Vijaya Baskar Health Minister, Samathuva Makkal Katchi leader Actor Sarath Kumar, former MP from Chitlapakkam constituency Rajendran, and Dr.MGR Medical University Vice Chancellor Dr.Geetalakshmi.
It was found from the records seized from Srinivasan, the accountant of Vijaya Bhaskar that there was information relating to the disbursement of 89 crores of rupees for the RK Nagar elections. Chitlapakkam Rajendran also has transported huge cash through vehicles.
Around 5 crores of rupees were seized from the residences of Vijayabaskar and his relatives. The documents at the MLA quarters of the Minister had all information about the money to be bribed booth wise and ward wise and also the names of the individuals who were entrusted with that job. The election duty officials seized around 31.91 lacs of rupees and 74 persons were arrested on charges of violation of election rules. Eight people were arrested on charges of distributing gift articles to the voters.
The election commission observers said that it was a great challenge to control money for vote, law and order issues and conduct a fair election in RK Nagar. Additionally, they said that lot of complaints were received in the control room about Ministers and senior leaders of the ruling faction indulging in bribing the voters. These complaints were shared with the IT authorities which paved way for these huge raids.
The EC took note of all these manipulations by the political parties and also after carefully considering the past judgments , it decided to suspend the by-elections. But opposition politicians have called for a thorough CBI inquiry into this Money for Vote scam. It is a shame that theses type of bribing the voters which became more popular during the Thirumangalam by-elections during DMK regime has come into stay permanently and Who is to be blamed- the voters or the politicians