Chennai: The Madras High Court on Wednesday issued an interim injunction restraining Tehelka magazine’s ex-editor Samuel Mathew and six others from making any statement linking Chief Minister K Palaniswami to the Kodanad estate break-in case. Issuing notice to the defendants, the court posted the case to January 30.
Justice K Kalyanasundaram issued the exparte interim injunction on a defamation suit filed by the CM against Mathew and others over their 16-minute video clip linking the AIADMK leader to the robbery at the Kodanad estate in 2017. Besides Mathew, his four-Delhi based associates and two accused persons in the Kodanad estate case -- K V Sayan and Valayar Manoj -- are the other defendants in this suit.
Earlier on Wednesday, senior counsel Satish Parasaran, appearing for Palaniswami, made a mention before the judge for urgent hearing of the suit in which the chief minister has sought Rs 1.10 crore as damages from the defendants. In his interim prayer, the CM sought an order restraining the seven defendants from making statements, particularly alleging that he had a role in the break-in incident.
On April 23, 2017, the security guard of the Kodanad estate, Jayalalithaa’s retreat home in Nilgiris, was murdered in a robbery attempt by a 10-member gang. It emerged during the probe that her former driver C Kanagaraj and Sayan had allegedly plotted the crime. A total of 10 people have been arrested in the case and a charge sheet was also been filed.
Later, Kanagaraj and Sayan’s wife and daughter were killed in separate road accidents during the probe, even as another employee of the property was found dead, in a case of suspected suicide.
When the suit came up for hearing, Satish Parasaran narrated the sequence of events and said a criminal case had been registered and investigation by police was underway. Palaniswami had no connection with the incident and without any material evidence, the defendants were giving media interviews linking the CM to the case, he submitted.
He also claimed that Mathew was operating with the two accused and that the allegations had been made without an iota of evidence only with the intention to defame the CM and the party he belongs to in view of the coming Lok Sabha election. The counsel submitted that Kanagaraj died due to drunken driving and the other employee committed suicide and Palaniswami had nothing to do with the robbery or the deaths.
Satish Parasaran alleged that Mathew, as the owner of Narada News -- a news website, was known for blackmailing officials using honey traps and had produced a CD containing one such purported conversation in support of his claim. “The fact stated herein above clearly establishes prima facie case in my (client’s) favour...the balance of convenience is in my favour for grant of injunction,” the counsel said.
“Irreparable prejudice and loss would be caused to the plaintiff if the defendants are not restrained by the court from in any manner whatsoever continuing to make statements particularly alleging that the plaintiff had a role to play in the incident that had taken place on April 23, 2017 at the Kodanad estate and the accidental deaths later,” he said.
CM Palaniswami has already rejected the allegations against him but the DMK has been demanding his resignation. The opposition party has announced it would hold a protest in front of the Raj Bhavan here on Thursday to demand action by Governor Banwarilal Purohit against Palaniswami....