The release of a book on Rafale deal, which was apparently stopped by police and the Election Commission, happened later in the evening on April 2 in Chennai. Employees of Bharathi Puthagalayam, the publisher of the Tamil book, said at 1pm a team of police personnel and an official who identified himself as S Ganesh of Flying Squad – 1, Thousand Lights, raided their premises and seized more than 140 copies of the book. After seizing the copies, the Election Commission official gave a handwritten letter to Nagarajan, publisher of Bharathi Puthakalayam, that said since the book release flouted election rules, it was being banned.
The book was to have been released by N Ram, publisher of The Hindu Group, who has written several articles on the Rafale deal in ‘The Hindu’ newspaper. Ram, speaking to The Federal, called the action outrageous. “It’s an outrageous, illegal, anti-democratic act. The flying squad came and seized hundreds of copies. The consequence of that act is that it has gone viral. What would have been a small function has now become so big. This also raises questions about the impartiality of the Election Commission-at least the local arm of it,” he said.
Meanwhile, PDF copies of the book titled ‘Naatai Ulukkum Rafale Bera Oozhal’ (Rafale, a scam that is rocking the nation) started circulating on WhatsApp groups.
Speaking to The Federal, Satyabrata Sahoo, the Chief Electoral Officer of Tamil Nadu, said, “The flying squad had received information about the book and the event. It was not initiated by the Chief Electoral Officer or the District Officer. We have asked for a detailed report and have directed to allow the function to resume.” Later in the day, the copies of the book were returned and the book release event happened on the publisher’s premises.