The ruling Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam in Tamil Nadu has slapped a legal notice on state Bharatiya Janata Party chief K Annamalai over his graft allegations against the party, its president and Chief Minister M K Stalin, and demanded an apology and damages to the tune of Rs 500 crore.
The 10-page notice issued by DMK organisation secretary R S Bharathi said Annamalai's allegations named 'DMK Files' and targeted at Stalin and other party leaders were "false, baseless, defamatory, imaginary and scandalous." The notice dated April 15 was issued by senior advocate and DMK Rajya Sabha MP, P Wilson, "under instructions" from Bharathi.
Referring to Annamalai's "Rs 200 crore" graft charge against Stalin, the notice said "the DMK president has not received a single paisa as illegal gratification from any person throughout his 56 years of public life."
Besides demanding an unconditional, public apology from Annamalai on behalf of Stalin, Bharathi wanted "offending" videos containing the allegations removed from the social media and a website.
It also called upon the BJP leader to "pay damages to the tune of Rs 500,00,00,000 (five hundred crore rupees only) to our client (Bharathi), which our client intends to pay over to the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister's relief fund."
These should be done within 48 hours of "receipt of this notice, failing which our client will be constrained to initiate appropriate civil and criminal proceedings against you and your properties, holding you personally liable for all costs and consequences arising therefrom," it said.
Bharthi told Annamalai that as he and his party were unable to make a mark electorally in Tamil Nadu, "you have been making constant attempts to defame, scandalise and tarnish the reputation of the DMK President, and other leaders and members of the DMK party."
"You have been constantly making vile, defamatory and scandalous statements against our party president with a mala fide intention," he charged.
The allegations, made on Friday, "have the effect of defaming the party and its president and therefore our client, in his capacity as the organisation Secretary is constrained to issue the present legal notice to you in respect of the defamatory allegations made against DMK party and its president alone," it added.
It also rubbished many other allegations, including on an addendum made regarding a bid related to the execution of Chennai Metro Rail Phase I project.
Bharathi stated not a "shred of evidence or any cogent evidence for these per se false, baseless, concocted, fabricated, mischievous, irrational, and motivated allegations" were shared by Annamalai, a former IPS officer.
"Our client categorically denies that any such amounts were paid to the hon'ble DMK president (Stalin) and further calls upon you to show the basis on which such allegations have been made. The DMK president has not received a single paisa as illegal gratification from any person throughout his 56 years of public life," he insisted.
Annamalai made such allegations with the intention of tarnishing the CM's reputation and defaming him, Bharathi added.
Bharathi told Annamalai that he has a duty in law to have material basis or cogent evidence to make such allegations that tarnish the reputation and character of the DMK and its leader.
"In the present case, you have offered no basis for your allegations and therefore, you have not met the legal threshold for verification. In such a situation, you are liable to be prosecuted in law for defamation."
"You are therefore liable to pay compensation for damages suffered by the party and the party president to their good name and impeccable reputation. The damages are tentatively valued at Rs 200 crore for the reputation of the party president and Rs 300 crore for the reputation of the party," he added.