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Hometamil-naduTN Governor says ‘detailed probe’ prevented into attack on Raj Bhavan; police...

TN Governor says ‘detailed probe’ prevented into attack on Raj Bhavan; police deny the charge

Chennai: Tamil Nadu Raj Bhavan on Thursday accused the Greater Chennai Police of “preventing a detailed investigation” into Wednesday’s petrol bomb attack just outside its premises by diluting the offence to an “act of simple vandalism” and getting the accused remanded after “waking up” the judge at midnight.

However, Tamil Nadu Police denied the charge and asserted that the investigation into the incident is progressing as per law.

In a terse statement, the Raj Bhavan, which filed a formal complaint on the attack with the police through the Governor’s under secretary T Sengottaiyan, suggested that the behaviour of the police could be aimed at saving those behind the attack.

“Police did not register Raj Bhavan complaint on attack. They suo motu diluted the attack as an act of simple vandalism and in a hurry got arrested the accused remanded him to jail at midnight by waking up the magistrate. Prevented detailed interrogation which could expose those behind the attack. Fair investigation is killed (even) before it begins,” it said.

‘Karukka’ Vinoth, who has seven cases pending against him including two relating to petrol bomb attacks on BJP headquarters and a police station, was sent to 14-day judicial custody. The police also booked him under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, Explosive Substances Act, and The Public Property (Prevention of Damage and Loss) Act, according to the FIR made public on Thursday.

The statement came hours after Greater Chennai Police Commissioner Sandeep Rai Rathore met Governor R N Ravi and briefed him about the investigation into the incident.

Later in the evening, Director General of Police Shankar Jiwal termed as “untrue” the Raj Bhavan’s version that more than one person was involved in the attack and that damage was averted due to “alert sentries.”

“It is the heavy security provided by the Chennai Police and due to the alertness of the personnel on duty, the offender was immediately arrested,” Jiwal said.

He also punched holes in Raj Bhavan’s version that stones and sticks were hurled at the Governor’s vehicle in Mayiladuthurai in April 2022, saying there was no truth in the allegations.

“A detailed investigation will be conducted into Wednesday’s incident. The police have collected complete CCTV footage and are conducting a fair and detailed probe,” Jiwal added.

Law Minister S Regupathy condemned the attack but rejected suggestions that DMK or its allies could be behind the incident. He took to X platform to say that there is information that the accused’s bail application was moved by a lawyer who is with the BJP, raising suspicion.

“Why should a BJP lawyer take on bail an accused who threw petrol bombs at its own headquarters? The police are investigating this angle as well,” the minister said.

Thursday also saw the BJP demanding that the National Investigation Agency (NIA) take over the investigation into the attack on Raj Bhavan.

Vanathi Srinivasan, BJP MLA from Coimbatore (South), said in a statement that it was shocking that petrol bombs were hurled towards the Raj Bhavan a day before President Draupadi Murmu arrived in the state on a two-day visit.

She also alleged that the incident outside the Raj Bhavan doesn’t seem to be an attempt by an individual but could be part of a larger conspiracy and asked the state government not to release those accused in 1998 Coimbatore blasts.

“Extremists should be seen as extremists and they shouldn’t be part of any calculations to garner votes from a particular community,” Vanathi said, demanding a probe by the NIA or CBI into the incident.

Rathore met Ravi and briefed him in detail the status of the investigation into the incident by the police. The Governor’s office is believed to have discussed the issue invoking Section 124 of the IPC which is “specifically intended for threats” to a Governor, as sought by the Raj Bhavan in a letter on Wednesday evening.

“The Commissioner apprised the Governor of the situation and gave an assurance that the security provided to him was fool proof. The top cop also briefed the Governor about the security detail provided to him,” a source toldDH.

Vinoth has been booked under sections 436 (mischief by fire or explosive substance with intent to destroy house), 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty), and 506 (2) (punishment for criminal intimidation) of the IPC.

The FIR said Vinoth threw a petrol bomb from near the Highway Research Centre on the Sardar Patel Road which landed with a huge sound outside the main barricade of the Raj Bhavan premises. “When the personnel on duty rushed to catch Vinoth, he threw another petrol bomb towards them. However, the personnel overpowered him,” the FIR said.

In the letter on Wednesday evening addressed to Rathore, the Raj Bhavan said the “brazen attack” is a consequence of the “studied indifference” by the police to serious threats to the Governor from several quarters, including from DMK men.

“A Governor cannot work under the shadow of constant threats. Hence, I urge you to take it seriously and do the needful to ensure proper investigation, due punishment to all the involved persons including conspiracies behind the attacks and proper security to the Hon’ble Governor,” the Raj Bhavan said in the letter.

Sengottaiyan also alleged thatRavi has been subjected to “sustained vicious attacks” using filthy abuses and wielding threats to his life by leaders and workers of DMK and its allies in their public meetings and through their social media.

“These threats are intended to overawe the Hon’ble Governor and restrain him in discharging his Constitutional duties. However, complaints lodged with police have been inconsequential,” he had said.

(Published 26 October 2023, 13:37 IST)

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