Chennai police Commissioner AK Vishwanathan has denied allegations that he is under pressure from Minister SP Velumani.

Chennai Police Commissioner trying to tarnish our image Anti-corruption NGO Arappor Iyakkam
news Controversy Friday, January 03, 2020 - 09:39

Chennai-based anti-corruption NGO Arappor Iyakkam has slammed Chennai city police Commissioner AK Vishwanathan over his remarks about the organisation at a press conference in Chennai on Wednesday. The Commissioner had said that lawyer and human rights activist Gayatri Khandhadai, who was part of the kolam protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, was being supported by Arappor Iyakkam even as he added that the activist was being probed for a ‘Pakistan connection’.

“While the whole of India condemned the manner in which Kolam protestors were arrested, it is astonishing about the way in which he decided to drop in Arappor Iyakkam’s name in between. It seems to have been purposefully done with malafide intent to tarnish the image of the organization by trying to somehow connect us with Pakistan in the public’s mind.” Arappor said, in a statement.

The NGO, whose members have been arrested by the Chennai police in recent months for public inspections, made a shocking allegation. 

“Arappor Iyakkam’s convener Jayaram Venkatesan had met with Mr Viswanathan on June 20, 2019 to seek permission for Arappor’s protest ‘Kelu Chennai Kelu’ on water scarcity that was to be held on 30/06/2019. During the conversation, Commissioner Mr A.K.Visvanathan said that he is under intense pressure from Mr S.P.Velumani to not give any permission for Arappor events and he told Jayaram Venkatesan to meet with Minister S.P. Velumani to directly ‘sort-out’ the issues.” the statement said. 

With Jayaram reportedly refusing to meet with the Commissioner, the Commissioner has been misusing the police force against the group, it alleges.

The NGO also pointed out that a number of organisations had supported Gayatri, including the DMK, the main opposition party in the state, but the NGO had been singled out at the Commissioner’s press conference. 

Further, the NGO stated, “Since none of his efforts stopped us from fighting against the Corruption, the witch hunt against Arappor Iyakkam by Mr A.K.Viswanathan has now hit a new low with these comments and he has become a disgrace to the Indian Police Service. It is also dangerous for the security of this city to have a person like Mr A.K.Viswanathan as its head who has been continuously misusing his power and intelligence services on peaceful anticorruption activists rather than on real security threats.”

The Commissioner, however, has denied the allegations made by the NGO. 

Speaking to TNM, he said, “We have registered several cases against them and filed chargesheets. They even went to the Madras High Court to try and quash these. That didn't materialise. The allegations are false.”

(With input from Priyanka Thirumurthy)
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