The Madras High Court today directed police not to harass sidelined AIADMK leader TTV Dhinakaran, the party's Karnataka unit secretary V Pugazhenthi and others, booked for allegedly defaming the prime minister and the Tamil Nadu chief minister.
Justice M S Ramesh gave the oral direction to Annadanapatty police in Salem district, where the case was registered on October 2, on a petition by Pugazhenthi, a staunch supporter of Dhinakaran, seeking to quash the FIR.
The judge refused to stay the FIR as sought by the petitioner, who submitted that the police might harass them under the pretext of investigation in the case.
Dhinkaran and 16 of his supporters were charged with issuing pamphlets opposing the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test in which they have allegedly defamed Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister K Palaniswami.
They have been booked for sedition, unlawful assembly and defamation among other offences in the FIR.
The petitioner said several agitations had been held across the state opposing NEET with circulation of similar pamphlets with slogans against state and central governments.
The complaint against Dhinkaran was 'ill-motivated', he contended seeking quashing of the FIR.
Police had on October 2 arrested 10 of the accused on the basis of the complaint filed by a man named Vinayakam alleging that they were found distributing the pamphlets among the public outside a hall, where Palaniswami was holding a meeting with senior officials a day earlier.
Besides Dhinakaran and Pugazhenthi, disqualified MLA P Vetrivel is among the accused.
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