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DMK chief charged

Chennai, Nov. 27: M. Karunanidhi was today handed copies of two chargesheets that accuse him of “instigating” state government employees to strike work in July, reports our special correspondent.

A court official handed the DMK chief 190 pages of the related chargesheets in his car outside the additional chief metropolitan magistrate’s court.

His lawyers had pleaded with the judge, D. Arulraj, that the 79-year-old Karunanidhi be exempt from appearing in the courtroom on the first floor as he would find it difficult to climb up the narrow stairway.

Arulraj agreed and sent down the official to verify Karunanidhi’s presence on the ground floor. Senior counsel S. Ramasamy received the copies of the chargesheets on the leader’s behalf.

Karunanidhi’s lawyers filed another petition today seeking to exempt him from further appearances in court.

, chief minister Jayalalithaa met her Andhra Pradesh counterpart . Chandrababu Naidu in Hyderabad, seeking the release of 3 tmc ft of Krishna waters to Chennai. She is on a weeklong visit.

Karunanidhi has been charged on two counts under Section 5 of the Tamil Nadu Essential Services Maintenance Act, under which the strike had been declared “illegal”.

First, for “instigating the employees/teachers serving in the notified departments falling under essential services categories to strike work” even before the proposed strike date with a view to paralyse the administration.

The prosecution cited the former chief minister’s statements and media interviews, published by various newspapers, to bolster the government’s case.

Second, for continuing to give media statements to “continue” the strike though it had been declared illegal by the Supreme Court that said government employees and teachers had no fundamental or statutory right to strike.

The chargesheet said the statements thereby violated “not only the provisions of the enactment but also is in scant regard of the judgements of the high court and Supreme Court”.

Traffic in the area was thrown out of gear with DMK workers shouting slogans hailing their leader and against Jayalalithaa in a tumultuous show of support to Karunanidhi.

Normality was restored only when the DMK chief left the court premises after about 15 minutes.

The prosecution has already served similar chargesheets in the case over the past few days to former Tamil Nadu Congress working president E.V.K.S. Elangovan, CPM state secretary . Varadarajan and his CPI counterpart R. Nallakannu.

The case has been posted to December 24 for further hearing.

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