The Madras High Court on Tuesday ordered an inquiry into the rejection of actor Vishal’s nomination papers by the Returning Officer in the RK Nagar bye-elections. This comes nearly two months after the actor’s nominations papers were rejected after two proposers had alleged that their signatures were forged. It also comes a month after independent candidate TTV Dhinakaran, the expelled AIADMK Deputy General Secretary, won the RK Nagar bye-polls by a huge margin.
The court has directed the Chennai police to investigate whether the two people who proposed Vishal’s nomination had in fact been kidnapped and threatened as alleged by the actor. And if found to be true, the HC directed the police to file an FIR.
The High Court was hearing a petition filed by G Devarajan, a social activist from Chennai. In his petition, Devarajan seeks the court’s intervention to direct the Chennai police to register a case regarding the alleged kidnap and intimidation of two of Vishal’s proposers.
Stating that it was a mystery as to whether the election to the RK Nagar constituency was held in a free and fair manner, the petitioner states, “It is the obligation of the Chennai Police Commissioner and Election Commissioner to check up the veracity of this rumor but the Election Commission has also the Police Commissioner have never bothered to take note of this violent allegation (sic).”
Devaraj also states that he had filed a complaint with the H4 Police Station in Chennai on December 6, 2017 following Vishal’s allegations. However, as there was no action by the police, he was moving court.
On December 5, after much high drama, the Returning Officer Velusamy rejected actor Vishal's nomination papers on the grounds that he did not fulfil the conditions, with only eight valid proposers backing his candidature. In a press statement, the RO stated that Vishal’s nomination papers had come under scrutiny after objections were raised over the validity of the proposers. Velusamy stated that two proposers – Sumathy and Deepan – had appeared in person and “submitted written representation that they had not proposed the nomination of Thiru Vishal Krishna and their signatures have been forged”.
However, denying the allegations, Vishal went to the RO with a recording of a phone conversation that he claims to have had with the husband of Sumathy, one of the proposers. In the recording, the speaker on the other end tells Vishal that men belonging to AIADMK candidate Madhusudhanan's camp threatened the women in his house and coerced them to say that their signature was forged.