The Supreme Court on Monday (March 10) stayed an interim order passed by the Madras High Court allowing DMK leader N Maruthu Ganesh to seek a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the R K Nagar by-poll bribery case.
According to The Hindu, a three-judge bench comprising Chief Justice of India S A Bobde, Justice B R Gavai, and Justice Surya Kant issued the stay.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami, Minister for Education K A Sengottaiyan, Health Minister C Vijayabaskar, and many other leaders were allegedly involved in the bribery case.
Maruthu Ganesh had filed a petition seeking an investigation into the alleged bribery of voters, which later led to the cancellation of the polls in R K Nagar in April 2017.
The polls were later held after the Income Tax Department conducted raids at more than 30 places, including Vijayabaskar’s properties.
The raid in Vijayabaskar’s house in Chennai revealed that more than ₹89 crore was given to voters in cash in exchange for their votes during a crucial election at late Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa’s constituency, R K Nagar, where a battle for power was underway after she passed away.
Apart from those documents, a video showing at least ₹4,000 being given to voters in a family in exchange for their votes to the ‘hat symbol’ too emerged.
Based on a complaint by the Chief Electoral Officer of Tamil Nadu, an FIR was filed at the Abhiramapuram police station against Housing Minister Udumalai K Radhakrishnan, Food Minister R Kamaraj, Information Minister Kadambur Raju and the Tamil Nadu government special representative in Delhi, Thalavai Sundaram for preventing CBI officers from conducting raids at their places.
The Madras High Court had on January 29, 2020 passed the interim order to probe the case further. However, AIADMK MLA P M Narasimhan and the Inspector of Police, Abhiramapuram challenged the order in the Supreme Court.
The appellants had argued that the FIR was dismissed by a single judge in March 2018 at the Madras High Court and that there was nothing more to be probed by the CBI.
Once the raids were over, the by-polls were held, in which independent candidate and AMMK chief TTV Dhinakaran won the polls for the R K Nagar constituency.