Wednesday, July 4, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

TN Govt drops charges

Chennai, July 3
The Tamil Nadu Government today dropped the charges against Union Commerce and Industry Minister Murasoli Maran and Forest and Environment Minister T. R. Baalu who were ordered to be released yesterday.

The arrest of Mr Maran and Mr Baalu had snowballed into a confrontation between the Centre and the state.

The decision to drop the charges of criminal intimidation and obstructing police officials from discharging their duties came hours before a Union Cabinet meeting, called to discuss the recommendation of an NDA team that appropriate and stern action be taken against the Tamil Nadu Government for the way it treated former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi and the two Union Ministers.

There was an overwhelming opinion among the NDA members to place the state under Central rule.

A court had yesterday ordered the release of the two ministers, but they had refused to come out unless charges against them were dropped.

An official press note said the government decided to withdraw the cases against the ministers “to maintain cordial relationship with the Centre and out of deference to the views expressed by the Union Government and more specifically the Prime Minister”.

It said after the arrest of the two ministers under 10 different Sections of the IPC, the Centre had informally communicated its feelings that the detention of the two ministers, even if under specific charges, was undermining the cordial relationship between the Centre and the state under the federal set-up.

“The Prime Minister had requested the state government to consider dropping of the charges against the Central ministers.”

Though the Central ministers were charged for committing explicit offences, the state government had decided to withdraw the cases against them in the interest of maintaining a cordial relationship with the Centre, the note said.

The state government assured the state police that due care would be taken to protect their interests and asked them to continue to discharge their duties as always without fear or favour.

Officials said that charges against former Chief Minister Mr Karunanidhi would not be dropped as it was a corruption case and unconnected with the Central-state relations.

DMK supporters and others arrested in connection with incidents relating to the arrest of Mr Karunanidhi as also the state-wide bandh were also being released, except for those arrested on specific offences.

Orders in this connection had already been issued. UNI


AIADMK men come calling
Apprise AICC of ‘reality’
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 3
Knowing that only the Congress could bail them out in case the Centre decided on some extreme measure like imposing Article 356 in Tamil Nadu, AIADMK leaders today came calling to the AICC office here.

Though it was not very long ago that AIADMK chief Jayalalitha virtually washed her hands off the alliance with the Congress, the party leaders today not only delivered letters from the AIADMK chief to the Congress leaders explaining what happened in Chennai while arresting DMK chief M Karunanidhi, but also gave them a cassette about the “reality.”

A delegation of AIADMK leaders led by M Thambi Durai today met AICC General Secretary Ghulam Nabi Azad and Congress spokesman Jaipal Reddy to explain their side of the story of the events in Chennai. This was the first meeting between the two parties since the AIADMK government’s controversial action of arresting Mr Karunanidhi and taking into custody two Union Ministers. They handed over separate letters to both Mr Azad and Mr Reddy.

Conveying their gratitude to the Congress for its stand against the imposition of President’s rule in the state, the AIADMK leaders specifically talked about the “real facts” relating to the arrests of Union Ministers Murasoli Maran and T.R. Baalu.

Asked if the decision to withdraw charges against the two Central Ministers was taken today under pressure, the AIADMK leaders said it was done because of the “magnanimity” of their leader Jayalalitha. To a query about the alliance with the Congress, which Ms Jayalalitha had termed as having been limited to elections only during her recent trip to Delhi, the AIADMK leaders said the alliance was continuing.

Hoping that “misconceptions that have been projected by vested interests” would be cleared by her memorandum and the accompanying video, Ms Jayalalitha explained how men of the state police, who were quietly carrying out arrest of Mr Karunanidhi on June 30 at 1.30 am, were “assaulted” by Mr Maran and his supporters. The memorandum says that it was the following commotion which led to Mr Karunanidhi being pushed by one of them.


Rangarajan sworn in

Chennai, July 3
Andhra Pradesh Governor C. Rangarajan was today sworn in as the Acting Governor of Tamil Nadu.

The Madras High Court Chief Justice, Mr N.K. Jain, administered the oath of office and secrecy to Dr Rangarajan at a brief function held in Raj Bhavan.


Baalu released

Chennai, July 3
Union Minister for Environment and Forests T. R. Baalu was released from the Central Prison at Vellore this evening, the police said. Mr Baalu, who was ordered to be released by a magistrate, court yesterday, had refused to come out of custody, demanding that the case against him be withdrawn. The state government today dropped the case against him. PTI


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