A 31-year-old witness in the case against TTV Dhinakaran linked to the alleged bribing of an Election Commission official, died by suicide on Wednesday, just hours after Dhinakaran was summoned to appear before the probe agency, according to sources aware of the developments.
The deceased has been identified as advocate Gopinath, who was working as a subordinate for a counsel of Dhinakaran in the bribery case, sources said.
In 2017, soon after the death of AIADMK icon J Jayalalithaa, a bitter factional war broke out between O Panneerselvam and VK Sasikala, Dhinakaran’s aunt. In a bid to secure the ‘two leaves’ election symbol for the Sasikala faction, Dhinakaran allegedly attempted to bribe an EC official through ‘conman’ Sukesh Chandrasekhar, another alleged associate of Dhinakaran.
Chandrashekar was arrested in April 2017 from a five-star hotel by the Delhi Police for allegedly taking money from Dhinakaran to bribe EC officials to get the AIADMK’s ‘two leaves’ symbol in a by-election to the RK Nagar assembly seat in Tamil Nadu.
The 58-year-old AMMK general secretary has been asked to depose before the agency on April 8. His statement will be recorded under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) once he deposes.
The Enforcement Directorate had filed a case and probed into the money trail after it was alleged that Dhinakaran had paid Chandrasekhar in order to bribe an EC official.
While the ED case continues, the political scene has seen dramatic changes from the tumultuous days following Jayalalithaa’s death. Now, Dhinakaran and Sasikala are outlying contenders to Jayalalithaa’s party, which now rests with Panneerselvam and Palaniswami.
(With PTI inputs)