In April 2017, the security guard of the Kodanad estate, Jayalalithaa’s retreat home in the hilly district of the Nilgiris, was found dead.
It emerged during the probe that Jayalalithaa’s former driver C Kanagaraj and K V Sayan had allegedly plotted the crime.
A total of ten people had been arrested in the case, with a charge sheet also being filed later.
However, 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.
The controversy over the break-in at former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa’s Kodanad estate in 2017 has come into the limelight once again following an investigative report by former Tehelka editor Samuel Mathew.
A 16-minute video released by the senior journalist in Delhi on Friday, claimed that the break-in and subsequent deaths of those involved in the crime, was linked to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi Palanisami.
Based on interviews with men involved in the break-in, the journalist alleged that the crime was ordered by the Chief Minister to retrieve important documents from the estate. However, all the testimonies of the men are based on conversations that they reportedly had with Kanakaraj, Jayalalithaa’s driver who died in an accident.
He was an accused in the break-in case, and his death later had been questioned as mysterious by many. Whether Kanakaraj really had these conversations with them cannot be cross ascertained, as he is no more.
Referring to former Tehelka editor Samuel Mathew releasing a video in Delhi on Friday, in which the accused allegedly linked the CM to the break-in, Palaniswami denied his involvement.
The All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) joint coordinator and Chief Minister who hold home portfolio further warned that a police case had been filed in the matter and that “strong action” will be taken against those who released the video.
“Yesterday (Friday), former Tehelka editor Samuel Mathews had released a video which links me to an incident (break-in) that happened in Amma’s Kodanad estate on April 24, 2017. This (charge) is completely contrary to facts and there is no iota of truth in it,” he said.
Making a statement before the media here, Palaniswami said the probe will reveal who was behind the incident, even as he charged that it was an attempt to “malign Amma”, referring to late chief minister J Jayalalithaa.
On Saturday, Palaniswami said the accused people, some of whom reportedly spoke in the video, had appeared in court 22 times in connection with the case so far, and questioned why they did not share the same in the court.
“They are saying such new things in an attempt to divert the case,” he said.
He also denied Jayalalithaa had stored documents received from party functionaries in the estate as purportedly claimed by them in the video on Saturday, saying she never obtained any such papers.
“Those unable to take us on politically are resorting to such cheap cowardice,” he said, and asserted a probe will reveal those doing so.
Speaking in his capacity as spokesperson of the government, Mr. Jayakumar on Friday night also threatened action against TV channels for telecasting the press conference. The media outlets had brought “disrepute” to the Chief Minister and the State government by broadcasting unsubstantiated claims, he charged.
The DMK has meanwhile demanded that the Chief Minister step down till investigation into the break-in is complete.
A statement issued by party President MK Stalin reads, “I called them a criminal cabinet earlier due to allegations of corruption. Now there are allegation of murder and robbery. Edappadi Palaniswami should step down immediately. All the perpetrators should be punished by law.”
The DMK further questions the death of the security personnel and the former driver, citing Sayan’s interview on the robbery.
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