In the troubled waters of Tamil Nadu politics, the latest name to cause ripples is that of TTV Dinakaran's.
On Sunday, Delhi Police apprehended Sukesh Chandrasekhar, who was allegedly acting as a middleman for Dinakaran, from a five-star hotel in the national capital. Chandrasekhar, who was found with ₹1.3 crore in cash, alleges he was appointed by Dinakaran to strike a ₹50-crore deal with an Election Commission (EC) official to ensure that the 'two leaves' symbol of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) would be allotted to its faction AIADMK (Amma) of which Dinakaran is the deputy General Secretary (GS).
For his part, Dinakaran has denied knowing Chandrasekhar, let alone asking him to broker such a contract with the EC, though the chances of his arrest by the Delhi Police seem imminent. The warring factions of the AIADMK are desperately trying to forge a compromise and bring in a merger. According to The News Minute, the former chief minister of the state, O Panneerselvam (OPS), has been offered the deputy GS's role, with Dinakaran offering to step down.
But VK Sasikala, Dinakaran's aunt and OPS's arch-rival, would continue to act as interim GS from the jail in Bengaluru where she is currently serving term, after being indicted in the disproportionate assets case. The OPS camp has refused to enter into any negotiations if Sasikala, or any member of her family, infamously known as the Mannargudi Mafia after the village they come from, is part of it. As per the current understanding among the factions, Edappadi Palanisamy will continue to be the chief minister of the state.
For a person responsible for stirring the cauldron of Tamil Nadu politics again, Dinakaran does not have as much clout as his aunt or her mentor, J Jayalalithaa, the late chief minister and leader of the AIADMK. His brother Sudhakaran was adopted by Jayalalithaa as a foster son and given one of the most lavish weddings in the history of the state. However, Sudhakaran was later publicly disowned by Jayalalithaa and Dinakaran was ousted from the party in 2011 on suspicions of meddling with its internal affairs.
Five years later, Dinakaran was back in the fold after Jayalalithaa's death, shadowing his aunt as she stood next to her mentor's body lying in state. Shockwaves ran through a section of the AIADMK and its supporters when Dinakaran shifted to the late Jayalalithaa's Poes Garden residence with his aunt, after being shunned by her for years. In a tumultuous few weeks, the disintegration of the AIADMK was complete and Dinakaran was given the cushy post of deputy GS in the faction that was headed by his aunt.
A former member of the Lok Sabha as well as the Rajya Sabha, Dinakaran is already trailed by a case filed for the violation of the Foreign Exchange Regulations Act (FERA). Probed by with Enforcement Directorate (ED), it holds him guilty for unexplained deposits of money into accounts between 1991 and 1995. Although Dinakaran has sought immunity on the basis of his Singapore citizenship, the Madras High Court imposed a penalty of ₹25 crore on him for misdeeds in the 1996 case.
The final nail was hammered in as allegations of corruption surfaced in the wake of the RT Nagar bypolls, which Dinakaran was contesting, with the EC eventually cancelling it over the misuse of money power. A few days later, the middleman surfaced, blaming Dinakaran for conspiring to bribe an EC official to ensure that the original AIADMK symbol stayed with his faction of the party.
Although Dinakaran, who faces arrest by the police, has welcomed the merger of the opposing sides of the AIADMK, the two parties are still locked in a strife to come to mutually agreeable terms.
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