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Terror charges against Vaiko

Chennai, Dec. 30: Tamil Nadu ‘Q’ branch police today filed chargesheets against MDMK chief Vaiko and eight others, arrested under the Prevention of Terrorism Act in July, for openly supporting the banned LTTE.

Special judge L. Rajendran adjourned the special court till January 2 for further hearing.

The prosecution filed 518 pages and backed it with 158 documents and 23 material objects before the court, trying cases under the anti-terrorism Act here at suburban Ponammalle.

Rajendran said he would peruse all documents, including a 58-minute video produced as evidence by the prosecution. He said this amid a large, expectant crowd of MDMK supporters and lawyers, who had gathered at the court.

Outside the court, the party’s presidium chairman, L. Ganesan carried on a signature campaign to highlight the misuse of the anti-terror law in Tamil Nadu.

Public prosecutor Jayakumar said the charges, pivoted around the MDMK’s controversial public meeting in Thirumangalam near Madurai in end June in open support of the LTTE, were framed mainly under Sections 21(2) and 21(3) of the anti-terror Act.

Besides Vaiko, the chargesheets name former MDMK MP A. Ganeshamurthy and party officials Veera Elavarasan, M. Boominathan, ‘Pulavar’ S. Sivanthiyappan, P.S. Maniyam, Alagusundaram, Ganesan and Nagarajan.

This is the first time the Jayalalithaa regime is invoking the anti-terror law against anybody.

Vaiko maintained a stoic silence throughout the 45-minute proceedings, as the prosecution included a 54-page book in Tamil written by the MDMK chief, supporting the LTTE and the Tamil Eelam cause, and another 56-page Tamil book, titled Sindhiya Rathangal, Sivantha Mann, containing his pro-LTTE speeches.

Speaking to reporters later, Vaiko sounded anguished at state BJP general secretary H. Raja’s statement in Vellore yesterday that the “BJP will not sign on the MDMK’s signature campaign roster to condemn the misuse of Pota in Tamil Nadu”.

The campaign, on which DMK president M. Karunanidhi was the first to sign, has been “well received” by the people and even BJP leaders such as Arun Jaitley and M. Venkaiah Naidu had condemned the misuse of the anti-terrorism Act in the state, Vaiko said.

The MDMK “will be forced to discuss this issue” if what Raja had said represented the BJP’s “official position”, he added.

Vaiko declined to be drawn into a controversy when asked whether this meant that the MDMK was going the DMK way over its ties with the BJP, he retorted: “Why do you jump to conclusions'”

Vaiko’s petition in the Supreme Court challenging Section 21 of the anti-terrorism Act, filed from Vellore jail after getting deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani’s green signal, is expected to come up for hearing in January third week. It has been clubbed along with the PUCL petition.

The MDMK chief remained evasive when asked whether he would now move for bail before the special court. “Let us see,” he said.

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