AIADMK protests against probe revival, Stalin says no political agenda

The police took the statement of accused K V Sayan, who in January 2019 made serious allegations, linking the then chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami to the robbery at late chief minister J Jayalalithaa’s 800-acre tea estate.

A DAY after Tamil Nadu Police recorded fresh statements of one of the main accused in the 2017 Kodanad estate robbery-murder case, the Opposition AIADMK on Wednesday staged a protest and walked out of the Assembly claiming that the DMK government was reviving the probe to falsely implicate its leaders.

The police took the statement of accused K V Sayan, who in January 2019 made serious allegations, linking the then chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami to the robbery at late chief minister J Jayalalithaa’s 800-acre tea estate. The allegations were denied by Palaniswami and later by the police.

Sayan’s fresh statements were recorded ahead of the next court hearing on August 27.

On Wednesday, after AIADMK and its allies staged the walkout, Palaniswami and former deputy chief minister O Panneerselvam told reporters that their party will continue to protest against the move. Panneerselvam said they will boycott the assembly session in the coming days as well.

“Instead of working on the pressing issues of the people of the state, the DMK is targeting opposition parties by abusing power. We will resist this move. They are trying to revive the case to come up with fake evidence to target us. That process has been happening for the past few days. We will not surrender before such threats, we will fight it out legally,” Panneerselvam said.

Sources close to Palaniswami said his office has sought an appointment with Governor Banwarilal Purohit in this regard on Thursday. Panneerselvam is also likely to accompany him.

Chief Minister M K Stalin, however, said in the assembly that there was no political motive in the case.

“It was in our poll promises that we will probe the case. There is no need for anyone to worry about the probe. The heist, murder and a number of deaths that followed the incident raised doubts in the mind of public. That is why we made a promise that we will bring all culprits to law,” said Stalin. “It has no political agenda. We will go ahead with the probe as per judicial norms.”

During the 2017 robbery, a security guard at the bungalow, Om Bahadur, was murdered. His body was found hanging upside down from a tree with his throat slit and mouth stuffed with cloth. Later, Dinesh Kumar, a CCTV operator at the estate, committed suicide.

Sources in the investigation team said another security guard who was also attacked during the robbery, Krishna Bahadur, is missing now.

After a police probe was launched, Sayan, who is from Kerala, was arrested and during interrogation the role of C Kanagaraj, a former driver of Kodanad estate, surfaced. On the day a lookout notice was issued against him, Kanagaraj was killed in a road accident at Attur, which his family alleged was a planned murder. On the same day, Sayan, who was out on bail, also met with an accident near Palakkad in which he was injured seriously and his wife and daughter were killed.

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