At a time when the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) are sorting out their alliance including seat-sharing arrangement for the upcoming 2019 elections, the re-emergence of the mysterious Kodanad estate break-in case and the alleged role of Chief Minister Edappadi K Palanisamy has been causing political ripples across Tamil Nadu.
On Monday, January 14, opposition leader and DMK Chief MK Stalin urged Governor Banwarilal Purohit to order a probe by a Special Investigation Team (SIT) into the murder and robbery case at former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa’s Kodanad estate bungalow in the Nilgiris district in April 2017.
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“Unless a Special Investigation Team is constituted under an officer of the rank of Inspector General of Police (IGP) with absolute integrity, the truth behind the grave offences committed at the residence of the former Chief Minister, alleged to have been committed at the instance of the current CM Palaniswami, will never come to light,” stated Stalin in a memorandum submitted to the Governor.
The Kodanad estate break in case resurfaced recently after Tehelka’s former editor Mathew Samuel released a 16-minute investigative video report while accusing the role of CM Palanisamy in the case. In the video, two accused (in the burglary case) Sayan and Manoj claimed that the CM wanted them to retrieve Rs. 2,000 crore and some important documents from inside the estate. Both of them alleged that it was Jayalalithaa’s former driver Kanagaraj who had told that Edappadi Palaniswami was involved in the planning of the estate break-in.
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On April 24, 2017, the day when a group of persons robbed the Kodanad estate, a security guard named Om Bahadur was found murdered. Days after the robbery, Kanagaraj died in an accident. On the same day, reportedly, Sayan along with his family also met with a car accident. While Sayan survived, his wife and daughter were killed in the accident. Following this, in July 2017, Dinesh Kumar, who was a CCTV operator at the estate had allegedly killed himself.
The state police had filed a charge sheet in this case in September 2017 for which the trial is still underway.
The Tamil Nadu Police on January 13, 2019, arrested Sayan and Manoj from New Delhi on charges of “promoting enmity” and “public mischief” following a case filed by an AIADMK IT Cell member, Sathyan. However, a magistrate court did not allow the police to remand them (who are on bail now) as it was not satisfied with the grounds on which they had been arrested.
Although Palanisamy and other AIADMK leaders are arguing that the allegations are “baseless”, with the ongoing intensified debate over the case, there are several questions that need to be answered in the public domain.