New Delhi: A special court on Friday said the Election Commission bribery case involving AIADMK leader TTV Dhinakaran was the result of a conspiracy to undermine the sanctity of the electoral process through corrupt means.
The court remanded alleged hawala operator Nathu Singh to two-day police custody after the Delhi Police Crime Branch argued that an unaccounted amount of Rs one crore was given to him to be handed over to alleged middleman Sukesh Chandrashekar for bribing EC officials.
It also sent Chandrashekar, who was produced on the expiry of his police custody, to judicial custody till May 12 after the police said he was not required for further custodial interrogation.
The court, which perused the FIR in the case, in which Dhinakaran, Mallikarjuna, Chandrashekar and Nathu Singh have been arrested, was apparently in agreement with the investigators' allegations that the entire money trail has to be ascertained to unearth the conspiracy which was aimed at undermining the sanctity of poll process.
"As per allegations in the FIR, accused Dhinakaran and Mallikarjuna were in conspiracy with others and had struck a deal with Chandrashekar to obtain favourable order in favour of Sasikala, Dhinakaran faction of AIADMK from the Election Commission of India in a matter pending before it.
"As the money trail has to be ascertained and the allegations are grave in nature and there was a conspiracy to undermine the sanctity of the electoral process through corrupt means, I accordingly grant two days of police custody of Nathu Singh," Special Judge Poonam Chaudhry said.
During the hearing, advocate Maheen Pradhan, appearing for Chandrashekar, said they will soon file a bail application of the accused.
Seeking two-day custody of Singh, prosecutor Balbir Singh argued the man, a Delhi-based hawala operator who was arrested yesterday, was involved in the transfer of unaccounted money.
The prosecutor contended that Rs one crore handed over to Chandrashekar by Singh was to be paid as bribe to the EC officials to get an order in favour of Sasikala-Dhinakaran or Amma faction AIADMK in the pending matter relating to the 'two leaves' party symbol.
There was no advocate to represent Singh, who was apprehended at the IGI Airport here yesterday.
Dhinakaran was arrested on April 25 night here after four days of questioning for allegedly attempting to bribe an unidentified EC official to get the undivided AIADMK's 'two leaves' election symbol for his faction.
The AIADMK (Amma) faction leader has been accused of allegedly arranging the amount from undisclosed sources and getting it transferred from Chennai to Delhi through illegal channels.
The court had on April 26 remanded Dhinakaran to five days custody of Delhi Police which said it needed to unearth the money trail and the entire conspiracy in the case.
It had also sent Mallikarjuna, an associate of Dhinakaran who was arrested along with the politician, to police custody till May 1.
Police have conducted searches at the Chennai residences of Dhinakaran and Mallikarjuna after securing warrants from the court as part of its probe.
Mallikarjuna, who had been accompanying Dhinakaran everywhere ever since Chandrasekar's arrest on April 16, was arrested for facilitating an alleged Rs 50-crore deal between the leader and Chandrasekar.
The case pertains to an alleged attempt to bribe an EC official by Dhinakaran to try to get the party's poll symbol of 'two leaves' for a by-election to the RK Nagar Assembly seat in Tamil Nadu which was later cancelled by the EC.
The EC had frozen AIADMK's 'two leaves' symbol after two factions led by Sasikala and former chief minister O Panneerselvam staked claim to it.