Tamil Nadu's opposition DMK has demanded the resignation of Chief Minister E. Palaniswamy and his council of ministers for alleged electoral malpractices or their sacking by the Governor if they fail to resign, an official said on Wednesday.
The DMK's three members of Parliament -- R.S. Bharathi, T.K.S. Elangovan and T.N. Siva -- called on Maharashtra Governor C.V. Rao, who also holds the charge of Tamil Nadu, and submitted a party memorandum to him on the matter.
The DMK demanded that Governor C.V. Rao should advise the Centre for a CBI probe into what it called a "massive corruption" indulged in by the ruling AIADMK faction in the run-up to Dr Radhakrishnan Nagar assembly constituency bye-election, which has since been cancelled by the Election Commission.
The bye-election was necessitated by the death of the then Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa on December 5, 2016, who held the seat in the assembly.
DMK Working President M.K. Stalin said T.T.V. Dinakaran, fielded for the poll by the AIADMK faction led by V.K. Sasikala (now jailed in a corruption case), is facing a foreign exchange regulation case tried on a day-to-day basis.
The DMK chief said soon after filing his nomination papers, Dinakaran and the "puppet" Chief Minister and his Cabinet colleagues "appear to have entered into a criminal conspiracy to spend nearly Rs 100 crore of ill-gotten wealth to bribe each voter in the constituency".
Stalin, son of former Chief Minister K. Karunanidhi, claimed AIADMK workers were instructed to go from door to door to pay Rs 10,000 to each voter in the constituency, apart from doling out gifts like lamps, saris, milk tokens and phone recharge coupons.
He said official machinery, including police vans and ministers' official vehicles with red beacons, were "misused" to carry the cash that was distributed to the prospective voters.
On April 7, the Income Tax Department raided Health Minister C. Vijayabaskar as well as carried out searches at 32 places in Tamil Nadu. Stalin said the IT Department had gone on record to detail how seven key aides of Dinakaran distributed over Rs 89.65 crore to bribe voters.
The DMK leader said the raiding team seized Rs 5 crore and documents from Vijayabaskar, which he claimed indicated the involvement of Palaniswamy and his ministers in the bribery scandal.
Stalin said all this amounts to offences under the Representation of People Act, 1951.
He said since Palaniswamy and his ministers systematically bribed voters and are liable for conviction and disqualification under the laws and have also violated the oath of office and discarded constitutional morality, the Governor must immediately direct them to resign.
"If they fail to do so, the Governor should dismiss them as they lack the propriety to hold office," he said.
Stalin also urged the Governor to advise the Union government to institute a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation into the matter.