The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Stalin rises to brother’s defence

Chennai, May 22: DMK youth wing leader M.K. Stalin today closed ranks with his elder brother M.K. Azhagiri, a day after his potential rival for the party president’s post was arrested in connection with former minister Pasumponn T. Kiruttinan’s murder.

Stalin, who is widely tipped to replace his father M. Karunanidhi as DMK chief, said his brother has been “hastily implicated” and his arrest was a “diversionary tactic”.

The former Chennai mayor, who cut short a visit to the US to attend the veteran DMK leader’s funeral in Sivaganga district, condemned what he termed the Jayalalithaa regime’s bid to “break the DMK” and draw political mileage from this tragedy.

Kiruttinan, a Stalin loyalist, was found murdered early on Tuesday near his residence in Madurai. The murder came when the DMK’s 12th organisation poll was hotting up in south Tamil Nadu, where Azhagiri is the de facto party boss.

Stalin said in a statement that it was after triangular consultations involving the slain leader, Azhagiri and himself that distribution of party posts for Madurai district and urban units of the party had been finalised.

He said the process of consultation for the other districts was going on, with a view to complete the organisational polls by the first week of June, when the former MP was killed by his “murderous enemies”.

Madurai city police could zero in on Azhagiri so quickly because of a statement given by Kiruttinan’s widow, Padmavathy. According to reports reaching Chennai today, Padmavathy told the police that her husband had confided in her that Azhagiri, who wanted to “fully control all the party posts in the southern districts”, had found his presence a “stumbling block”. Kiruttinan’s nephew gave a similar statement.

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