Journalist Mathew Samuel’s 16-minute documentary alleged that CM Edappadi Palaniswami had a hand in the 2017 Kodanad break-in and murder.

TN CM claims damages of Rs 1 cr from journo Mathew Samuel for Kodanad documentary
news Controversy Wednesday, January 23, 2019 - 18:24

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami has filed a civil defamation suit against former Tehelka editor Mathew Samuel and six others following the investigative documentary on the murder and break-in at Jayalalithaa’s Kodanad estate. The CM has claimed damages to the tune of Rs 1 crore.

On January 11, Journalist Mathew Samuel screened a 16-minute investigative video on the 2017 break-in and murder at Kodanad estate. The video had the testimonies of two men, who were allegedly part of the break-in and murder at Kodanad. They alleged that the Chief Minister had ordered the break-in in order to retrieve money and important documents from the estate.

However, CM Palaniswami rejected the allegations, saying there was no truth to them. He had also warned that those behind the false allegations would face severe action. Days later based on a complaint filed by AIADMK member Raja Chellapa’s son Satyan, a special team of the Tamil Nadu police arrested Sayan and Walayar Manoj from Delhi. They were booked for “promoting enmity” and “public mischief”.

A court in Chennai, however, refused to remand the two and sought evidence to substantiate the charges against them. They were later released on bail by the court.

The 16-minute documentary has, however, snowballed into a political controversy with the opposition led by the DMK demanding Palaniswami’s resignation. DMK President MK Stalin had on January 14 approached Governor Banwarilal Purohit urging him to inform the President of the situation, demanding that he ask the Chief Minister to step down, and order a Special Investigation Team to probe the allegations.

However, with the Governor yet to respond to the DMK’s petition, the party is planning to stage a protest on Thursday outside the Raj Bhavan in Chennai demanding EPS’ resignation.

“Appropriate legal action must be taken against Palaniswami in the wake of the documentary evidence released by journalist Mathew Samuel. The Chief Minister should step aside to allow a free and fair probe. We demand a special investigative team led by an inspector general rank police officer," Stalin stated.