The Tamil Nadu government filed a criminal complaint in a sessions court in Chennai on Wednesday against state Bharatiya Janata Party president K Annamalai for defaming Chief Minister M K Stalin.
The complaint, filed by city public prosecutor G Devarajan before the vacation sessions judge C Uma Maheswari, covers two specific allegations levelled by Annamalai against Stalin.
The first is related to an allegation made by the BJP leader in respect of an investor firm vis-a-vis DMK personalities and connecting them to Stalin, who visited Dubai last year to attract investments to Tamil Nadu.
The other aspect relates to Annamalai's allegation that "kickbacks of Rs 200 crore" had been channelled by a multinational company through two shell firms to "Chief Minister M K Stalin for DMK's 2011 election fund".
Annamalai, referring to the DMK rule between 2006 and 2011, had alleged that payments were received by the party as kickbacks from a company that won a bid related to the execution of Chennai Metro Rail Phase I project.
The BJP leader made the allegations in a press conference in Chennai on April 14, 2023.
The prosecutor contended that CrPc Sec 199 (2) on prosecution for defamation of a minister of a government of a state or Union would be attracted as the allegations pertained to the discharge of public functions by Stalin. Since 2021, Stalin is discharging public function as CM. He was the deputy CM between 2009 and 2011.
The prosecutor contended that Annamalai's statements are not only false but are also made with an intention to harm the CM's reputation.
Such imputations have lowered "the moral and the credit of the chief minister" in the eyes of the general public.
Such allegations have "caused considerable harm to the reputation of the chief minister. There were many debates conducted by the television channels and the interview was circulated on social media. The CM is enjoying very high reputation among the people of India and Tamil Nadu in particular. The excellent rule he has delivered for the past two years has earned him a very high reputation among the people of Tamil Nadu and across the country."
The love and affection showered by the people of Tamil Nadu on the chief minister "is not digestible by the opposition parties, and the BJP, of which the accused is the state president."
The statements were not made in good faith but only with malice to defame the CM for personal political gain of the accused.
The complainant prayed the court to take cognisance of the plaint, issue process and proceed against Annamalai for the offence of defamation (IPC Sec 499).
It sought that Annamalai be punished for the offence (under IPC Sec 500, punishment for defamation which may extend to two years or with fine or both). The matter is set to come up in court in July.