The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Arrest replay fear stalks DMK cadre

Chennai, April 13: Faced with the likelihood of another arrest, DMK chief M. Karunanidhi has found some consolation in deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani’s supportive letter on the anti-terror law.

Hundreds of partymen thronged Karunanidhi’s Gopalapuram home last night, after rumours spread about another unceremonious arrest over allegations of ransom money changing hands at the DMK chief’s house over two years ago to secure actor Rajkumar’s release from Veerappan’s custody.

“The Jayalalithaa government is known for its midnight arrests and we cannot take any chances this time,” a senior DMK worker said.

DMK’s Union minister T.R. Baalu, other MPs and senior leaders spent the whole of last night at Gopalapuram. Several reporters, too, kept vigil outside the house.

At a press conference today, Karunanidhi said the ransom charge against him was denied by Karnataka Film Federation leader Chandrasekhar. Kannada film industry representatives had met him during the kidnap crisis only to urge him to secure Rajkumar’s release. “I know nothing more,” he said.

The DMK’s anxiety was intensified after police started picking up its workers last evening as “preventive arrests”, though the party had not announced any agitation. Karunanidhi himself had asked partymen to stop all protests against M.K. Stalin’s recent arrest.

Party managers feared the preventive arrests were a step towards Karunanidhi’s arrest after Jayalalithaa ordered a vigilance probe into the ransom allegation, made by former Karnataka director-general of police C. Dinakar in his memoir, Veerappan’s Prize Catch: Rajkumar.

On a day fraught with worry, the only relief for a visibly exhausted Karunanidhi was a personal letter from Advani, which showed the BJP was still with the DMK and its allies.

Advani assured Karunanidhi that the review committee, led by former Punjab and Haryana High Court chief justice Arun B. Saharya, would give its suggestions on ensuring the anti-terror law provisions were “invoked for the combating of terrorism and are not used against ordinary criminals or those who are not terrorists or whose acts cannot be considered as terrorist acts”.

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