A court in Ooty issued a non-bailable arrest warrant on Tuesday against eight Tamil actors including Suriya, Sarathkumar and Sathyaraj for failing to appear for a summons. The other actors involved are Sripriya, Vijaykumar, Arun Vijay, Vivek and Cheran. It was the second summons that the actors failed to appear for on May 15.
The matter relates to a defamation case filed by a freelance journalist in 2009.
In October 2009, a small-time actor Bhuvaneswari was arrested on charges of prostitution in Chennai. Following her arrest, a Tamil daily published a report stating that a group of actors were involved in prostitution and running brothels in Tamil Nadu.
Condemning the Tamil daily for its article, the Nadigar Sangam held a protest with the biggest stars including Rajinikanth, Suriya, Sarathkumar and others turning up to demand strict action against those behind the baseless report.
Following a complaint by the then Nadigar Sangam President Sarathkumar, the Chennai Police arrested the editor of the newspaper. The daily eventually retracted the article and published an apology.
However, freelance journalist M Rozario went on to file a complaint alleging that the actors who spoke at the meeting made derogatory speeches against all journalists, rather than condemning the Tamil daily that had published the article.
While the court ordered the appearance of the eight actors on December 19, 2011, the stars moved the Madras High Court seeking to dispense with their personal appearance, reported Times of India. However, the petition was dismissed.
When the case came up for hearing on May 15, the actors failed to appear before the court. Judicial Magistrate Senthilkumar Rajavel issued a non-bailable warrant against the stars.
The case has been posted for hearing on June 17.
Following the order, fans of Suriya came out in support of the star with the hashtag #WeSupportSuriya trending on Twitter.