Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam general secretary Vaiko became the first member of Parliament and chief of a registered political party in the country to be detained under the Prevention of Terrorism Act when he was arrested on his arrival at the Chennai airport on Thursday evening.
The Tamil Nadu police arrested Vaiko for his pro-Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam speeches.
He had arrived from the US via Mumbai.
The MDMK's two ministers of state at the Centre, M Kannappan and N Ramachandran, who had met Vaiko at the Mumbai airport early on Thursday, received him in Chennai.
The police kept the media and the MDMK cadres at bay. His wife and son were allowed to receive him and so were the party ministers.
Other members of the family, including his sister, were outside the airport to see him.
A special police team from Thirumangalam in Madurai district, where Vaiko had made the pro-LTTE speech on June 29, was on hand to arrest him.
They were carrying a non-bailable arrest warrant issued on Tuesday night by Thirumangalam Judicial First Class Magistrate S Venkatachalapathy, who later went on leave.
He was presented with the arrest warrant at the VIP lounge.
After his arrest, the 27-member team from Madurai, headed by Superintendent of Police Manish Tiwari, took Vaiko to Thirumangalam in a van.
It would take around 10 hours to reach Thirumangalam, where Vaiko would be produced before Vanitha, Seventh Judicial Magistrate, Madurai.
Under the Criminal Procedure Code, every arrested person needs to be produced before a judicial magistrate within 24 hours.
Talking to newsmen while being lead away, Vaiko reiterated his appeal to party workers to observe calm.
He referred to the violence after Jayalalithaa's conviction by a Chennai special court, leading to the 'bus-burning incident' in Dharmapuri. Three female students of the Tamil Nadu Agriculture University, Coimbatore, were charred to death in the incident, he recalled.
Vaiko dubbed the detention as 'political vendetta' and yet another attempt to muzzle the political opposition.
The police also cracked down on MDMK cadres across the state to prevent them from agitating against the arrest of their leader.
At the airport, check-posts were erected to prevent MDMK cadres and others from arriving.
According to reports, around 3000 MDMK cadres, including party presidium chairman L Ganesan, were arrested.
No untoward incident was reported from anywhere, nor was there tension on the streets of Chennai.
Earlier in the day, Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa chaired a meeting attended, among others, by Chief Secretary Sugavaneswaran and Director-General of Police, B P Nailwal.
The meeting, the second since Wednesday, reportedly reviewed the law and order situation. At one stage, the government also considered the possibility of detaining Vaiko either at Mumbai or at his Annanagar home in Chennai.
A member of the Lok Sabha from Sivakasi constituency, Vaiko is a voter in Monday's presidential election. He will also have to attend the Monsoon Session of Parliament.
While the legal provisions are unclear, sources refer to the late Kalpnath Rai being allowed to attend Parliament under police security after being detained under the Terrorism and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act.
I am not afraid of being arrested: Vaiko
Tamil problem cannot be solved without the Tigers: Vaiko
Vaiko says he will fight the battle legally
Vaiko arrives in Mumbai on way to Chennai
Technical snag in flight delays Vaiko's arrival in Chennai
Over 3000 MDMK men in preventive custody
I will gain whether Jayalalithaa arrests me or not: Vaiko
Magistrate on leave after issuing
warrant against Vaiko
MDMK plans stir if Vaiko is arrested
MDMK leader Vaiko booked under POTA
Special police team formed to nab Vaiko
Police collecting cassettes of pro-LTTE speeches by Vaiko
Vaiko case: Centre puts ball back in TN court
Jayalalithaa threatens Vaiko with POTA
POTA threat political vendetta: Vaiko
Karunanidhi's Arrest: The Complete Coverage
Back to top
Tell us what you think of this report