Tamil Nadu: DMK asks Palaniswami to quit after video links him with robbery at Jayalalithaa’s estate

A security guard was killed during the robbery attempt in April 2017.

Tamil Nadu: DMK asks Palaniswami to quit after video links him with robbery at Jayalalithaa’s estate
A file photo of Tamil Nadu CM E Palaniswami | IANS

Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam chief MK Stalin on Friday demanded the resignation of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami after a documentary linked him with a robbery attempt at former leader J Jayalalithaa’s Kodanadu estate in April 2017.

Unidentified men had killed a security guard during the robbery attempt four months after Jayalalithaa’s death. Palaniswami was the chief minister at the time. Two months later, an accountant working at the estate was found dead at his house in Kothagiri.

The documentary, released by Narada News Chief Executive Officer Mathew Samuel on Thursday, showed Sayan, an accused in the murder and robbery case, claiming that his co-accused Kanakaraj had been in touch with Palaniswami. Sayan is currently on bail.

Sayan alleges in the video that Kanakaraj, who was Jayalalithaa’s former driver, had told him that there was “Rs 2,000 crore cash and important documents in the estate” just before Jayalalithaa’s death. He also claimed that Kanakaraj had asked him to hire people from outside Tamil Nadu to steal documents from the estate and hand them over to Palaniswami, who Kanakaraj had allegedly met after he was sworn in as chief minister.

Kanakaraj was killed in a road accident in Salem later. Four more persons connected with the robbery had died soon after the incident, unidentified officials from the Coimbatore jail told Narada News.

“Ten of us, including Kanakaraj, entered the estate,” Sayan is heard claiming. “We tied up the security guards and robbed the documents. Most of the documents were the apology letters sent to Jayalalithaa by MLAs and MPs. We were promised Rs 5 crore for this job. But we did not receive even one rupee. Later, Kanakaraj was killed in an accident.”

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Another purported accused in the case, identified as Walayar Manoj, corroborated Sayan’s statement. “Sayan told me that we were doing this for Chief Minister Palaniswami,” Manoj purportedly said in the video.

The documentary speculated that the team seized documents and storage devices containing data against officials in Jayalalithaa’s administration, which Palaniswami allegedly used to secure his post as chief minister. Samuel, in the documentary, questioned if Jayalalithaa had died a natural death.

DMK demands resignation

Stalin said on Friday evening that Palaniswami was under suspicion for the mysterious incidents that followed Jayalalithaa’s death. “It is the responsibility of the central government to bring out the truth,” his statement said. “The chief minister, who is now named in the documentary, should immediately resign. The accused in the murder and robbery should be punished. Justice will be denied if this is delayed.”

He added: “I have demanded Central Bureau of Investigation inquiry into the death of Jayalalithaa. Those ministers who claimed that I had an intention behind this demand, have started talking about this mysterious death. Even the Arumugasamy Commission, which was constituted to inquire into her death, is an eye wash.”

In March, Samuel had claimed that there was a threat to his life and that his family was being stalked. In a Facebook post, Samuel had alleged that a car had followed his family “suspiciously” for 13 km when he went to a hospital in Kerala.

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