BJP Tamil Nadu unit president K Annamalai on Saturday sent a legal notice to DMK leader R S Bharathi seeking "Rs 500 crore and one" towards damages for defaming him by alleging that he received crores of rupees from a scam.
Referring to Bharathi's recent press conference, the notice sent by advocate R C Paul Kanagaraj said an allegation was made by the DMK leader that Annamalai received money as part of the "Aarudhra scam." The scam in which depositors were duped in Tamil Nadu is under police probe.
Immediately after Annamalai released 'DMK Files' on April 14, Bharathi had on the same day alleged it was a diversionary attempt as the BJP leader faced allegations of receiving crores from the scam.
The notice to Bharathi said: "Initially you say he received several crores and then you say he and his associates received Rs 84 crore directly. You don't reveal any further details, such as who paid the money to my client or who these associates are. You say you have come to know this because the general public and some persons from my client's own party say so. You also claim that that is why depositors affected by the scam protested outside the BJP party office." Such allegations are entirely fabricated and false and nothing but a knee-jerk reaction to "my client's expose of the DMK party."
Further, the notice said: "My client states that by claiming to have heard from the general public and others you are admitting that you do not have any evidence about the alleged several crores received by my client. In spite of the same, you have made such accusations in a press conference. All the allegations are false. This is nothing but defamation of the worst kind."
Rubbishing claims of involvement in acts of corruption as false, Annamalai conveyed to Bharathi that such accusations have caused grave damage to his reputation. It warranted penal action against Bharathi.
Hence, the notice said Bharathi must ensure removal of the video of the press conference from social media platforms and websites. "Cease and desist from in any way speaking, broadcasting, publishing, sharing, uploading, dissemination or in any way communicating to the public the allegations made in the offending video."
The notice asked Bharathi to "forthwith pay damages to the tune of Rs 500,00,00,001 (Rupees five hundred crore and one only) to our client, which our client intends to pay to the PM Cares Fund." Failing, the notice said Annamalai would be constrained to initiate appropriate civil and criminal proceedings against Bharathi for defamation.
On April 14, Annamalai, released a nearly 15-minute video clip "DMK Files (Part-I)" showcasing what he claimed were assets and valuation of ruling DMK party personalities. Corruption allegations were made against the DMK. The video featured DMK ministers, leaders and others related to ruling party leaders.
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Bharathi had said that those featured in the video clip would take legal action against Annamalai individually, apart from the DMK itself taking action for defamation.
Bharathi, DMK's organising secretary has already sent a legal notice to Annamalai demanding Rs 500 crore as damages. Others including Minister Udhayanidhi Stalin have sent legal notices to the BJP leader in connection with allegations made in DMK Files. On Saturday, DMK MP Kanimozhi sent a legal notice to Annamalai.
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