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Court allows Vaiko to travel to US
June 02, 2004 15:29 IST
The vacation bench of the Madras high court today granted permission to Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam General Secretary V Gopalswamy alias Vaiko to visit the United States. Vaiko is currently facing charges under the Prevention of Terrorism Act.
A division bench, comprising Justices P K Mishra and A Kulasekaran, granted the permission to Vaiko on a petition filed by him on May 28.
MDMK sources said Vaiko tentatively plans to leave for the US on June 3 and return on June 20.
On May 28, Vaiko had filed a petition in the Madras high court seeking a direction to the designated POTA court to
return his 'ordinary' passport, which has been placed in the court's custody by the passport authorities, and also for
permission to visit the US.
He also sought a direction to the passport office to return his diplomatic passport, which had expired on the dissolution of the 13th Lok Sabha, as his American visa stamped on it was valid till the year 2009.
Vaiko had surrendered his diplomatic passport to the POTA court in the first week of February, after the special court granted bail to him in a case registered against him for allegedly speaking in favour of the banned Liberation of Tamil Tigers of Eelam at a public meeting at Thirumangalam in Madurai district in June 2002.
On May 18, the high court, while directing the POTA court to return the expired passport, also directed the passport authorities to consider issuing a fresh 'ordinary' passport in Vaiko's name and if issued, to hand it over to the POTA court, located at suburban Poonamallee. The passport office had accordingly handed over the new passport to the designated court.
Praying for permission to leave the country, Vaiko said he needed both passports to accompany his wife, who was to
take their 11-month-old grand-daughter to her parents in Chicago in the US.