Chennai: The election campaign in Tamil Nadu scheduled to go the polls on April 18, is poised to turn explosive with the Pollachi sex scam jolting the ruling AIADMK and giving a fillip to the DMK.
The opposition DMK is hoping to unseat the Edappadi Palaniswami government by a strong show in the by-elections to 18 Assembly seats slated to be held simultaneously with the Lok Sabha polls. AIADMK has to win at least eight of the 18 by-polls to retain its majority in the Tamil Nadu Assembly.
The principal accused in the case, a 26-year-old financier, Thirunavukarasu, has asked for a CBI probe as he has claimed that some politicians were involved. He and three co-accused Sabariranjan, Vasanthakumar and Satish, are now lodged in the Coimbatore central prison.
The modus operandi of the gang was to befriend women on Facebook by one of them and lure them for a meeting at a farmhouse owned by Thirunavukarasu. The other members of the gang would barge into the room after the woman is compromised by her Romeo and thereafter forced into submission and video-recording. In some instances, the victim was taken in a car and molested by the gang. The video clips would be used to blackmail the women to part with their gold and money. It is suspected that the victims were also forced to service the gang’s friends and politicos - which was allegedly admitted by Thirunavukarasu in his audio that has gone viral.
On Monday, Deputy Speaker Pollachi Jayaraman, at a press meet addressed at the State Secretariat in Fort St. George, denied that any of his family members was involved in the sex scam and accused the DMK leadership of spreading falsehood with ulterior motives. He said in fact it was a local DMK functionary’s son who was involved the scam. His statement came after social media outrage on the possible links of his son with the main accused Thirunavukkarasu.
Earlier in the day marked by protest demonstrations in Pollachi, DMK supremo MK Stalin called the scam a “terrible crime” and “Tamil Nadu’s biggest shame”. He alleged that AIADMK government was trying to save the culprits. His sister and Rajya Sabha MP Kanimozhi will be leading the DMK protest demo at Pollachi on Tuesday. Clearly, the sex scam is emerging as the DMK’s big whipping stick against the Edappadi government during the poll campaign.
The case has apparently triggered tremors within the BJP which has struck a strategic alliance with the AIADMK for the upcoming elections. A deeply concerned State BJP chief Dr Tamilisai Soundararajan has tweeted that the details of the Pollachi case are shocking. “We cannot tolerate abuse and suppression of women,” she said adding, the victims should be protected. She demanded a fair enquiry and punishment of the offenders.
Meanwhile, SP Pandiarajan told reporters at Coimbatore that there was no evidence of any political leaders being involved in the sex scam. He insisted there was no pressure from the AIADMK government to go easy on the case or shield the accused. He decried attempts to spread falsehood with ulterior motives, when asked about reports of possible involvement of politicos.
He said four videos had been culled from the cell phones of the accused but there was no footage or evidence of any political functionary’s involvement as claimed by main accused Thirunvukkarasu. He said a woman officer would be drafted into the probe team in view of the sensitivity of the case and also the four accused men detained under the Goondas’ Act.
The SP also maintained that since no rape has been alleged by any victim, the police have not registered the cases as rape but under other sections of law, such as assault and outraging a woman’s modesty.
A Tamil TV channel reported that police had stumbled on more than 1,000 videos of this kind which revealed a systematic pattern of exploitation of young girls and women over the past several years.
Whatever be the truth, the Pollachi sex scam has landed as a bombshell on the campaign platform in this crucial poll that would well determine the political fortunes of the AIADMK and DMK....