Chennai: Already at a cross roads after the electoral rout and the 2G scam taint, the DMK is feeling the heat of the AIADMK Government's crackdown on land grabbing with an increasing number of its functionaries and senior leaders coming under the police net.
The Jayalalithaa government's action has raised the hackles of the DMK, provoking it to cry foul and call for a state-wide protest on Monday.
Several former ministers and the once powerful district functionaries of the party are either under judicial custody or forced to move the court for bail as complaints of land grabbing are flooding the special police cells set up by the government to exclusively deal with such cases.
DMK's Salem satrap and former Agriculture Minister Veerapandi Arumugam became the first party bigwig to be held by police while several close aides of Union Minister and South Zone Organising Secretary MK Alagiri, Madurai-based son of party President M Karunanidhi, are also among those already arrested.
Besides Arumugam, other former ministers facing land grabbing complaints are KN Nehru and I Periyasamy.
In one of its first actions after coming to power in May, the AIADMK Government has ordered crackdown on land grabbings allegedly committed during the previous DMK regime, fulfilling an electoral promise made by Chief Minister Jayalalithaa.
During the election campaign, she had made land grabbing a major plank, alleging that powerful DMK men were involved in it and vowed to crush it if voted to power.
Though initially starting as a trickle, the land grabbing complaints have swelled now to over 2,000 and are being scrutinised by the special cell police across the state, forcing DMK men from local functionaries to the district secretaries scurry for obtaining bail to avoid arrest.
Piqued by land grabbing cases filed against DMK workers, the party is set to hold state-wide demonstrations in front of district police headquarters on Monday.
DMK President M Karunanidhi has hit out at the Jayalalithaa Government charging it with unleashing political vendetta and deriving pleasure out of detaining his party workers on false cases, a charge denied by Jayalalithaa who maintains that police are only acting on land grabbings based on complaints from affected persons.
Arumugam was arrested on Saturday in Salem when he appeared before the police complying with his bail conditions in two earlier land grabbing cases while DMK MLA J Anbalagan was detained in Chennai on a similar charge.
In a setback to Alagiri, a number of party functionaries, including his lieutenants, have been arrested in Madurai district in the past fortnight. Alagiri has shuttled between different prisons to visit his aides besides also meeting Arumugam days before his arrest.
Urban District DMK Secretary Ko Thalapathi, DMK executive committee member Pottu, Suresh and Attack Pandi, close associates of Alagiri, are among those arrested on land grabbing charges in Madurai.
Another DMK functionary Essor Gopi, also a confidante of Alagiri, has surrendered in a court as his name also figured in the complaint by a couple who alleged that the accused had forced them to sell their land valued at over Rs four crore for just Rs 40 lakh. Gopi's residence in Madurai was recently raided by police.
Pottu Suresh and 'Attack' Pandi have since been detained under the stringent Goondas Act, invoked against habitual offenders, but the High Court has refused to grant police custody of the two and other accused in the case for interrogation.
Periyasamy, former Revenue Minister and a sitting Member of the Assembly representing Aathur in Dindigul district, has filed anticipatory bail applications in the Madras High Court Bench in Madurai apprehending arrest in a
land grab case.
Alarmed at the spate of land grabbing cases against its partymen, the DMK General Council at its recent meeting in Coimbatore said it was firm on confronting the, repressive measures being initiated against it through the police by the AIADMK regime. The legal wing of the DMK has decided to go to
court against police officers filing 'false cases' against DMK cadres.
Besides land grabbing charges against the DMK men, complaints of cheating have been received against Sun Pictures, owned by media baron and Karunanidhi's grandnephew Kalanidhi Maran. While Sun Pictures CEO Hansraj Saxena has been arrested in a number of cases, Maran himself has been summoned by police to appear for questioning in connection with the complaints against the company.