The Chennai City Police which has a long cherished history of more than 150 years was recently in the news for all the wrong reasons.
Like the Mumbai Police, Chennai City Police Commissioner post is the dream of any IPS officer. An IPS officer once told this author that officers will go the extent of committing murders for good postings. He explained it by saying that the police’s pyramidal structure makes good postings at the rank of Additional DGPs and DGPs most sought after and to get a good postings, officers foregoing their self-respect will stoop down to any level.
An officer quoted an incident during former CM Edappadi Palanisamy’s regime. An IG level officer had met EPS and wanted a coveted post, where money will flow like a fountain. The officer had a rotten reputation and was transferred out from a coveted post.
As CM, Edappadi Palanisamy held a discussion with a couple of senior officers about posting the said officer to one coveted post. When the officers pointed about his corrupt reputation, Edappadi Palanisamy said, “Look sirs, he is an IG level officer. He touched my feet and sought postings. It was embarrassing. Kindly post him where asks”. This is one incident which will prove the greed and desperation of officers.
On Sunday, media people heard a news that one Kevin, a close aide of 2G fame Sadiq Basha, was arrested on a complaint by G Square Realtors, a notorious firm which has the backing of higher echelons of powers in the DMK government. Even the firm, boasts of achieving a turnover of 2000 crores in just 8 months. The CEO of the firm also boasted that they would achieve a target of 4000 crores in the next year.
To give a brief about the case in question, G Square Realtors is a firm run by one Ramajeyam @ Bala. In every regime, one realty firm will be patronized by the ruling party and G Square is the favourite of the current regime. This fact is evident from the humongous growth and flaunting by the firm.
Buzz among the realty industry is that, anyone associated or entering into partnership with G Square can get their approvals smoothly or otherwise their business is likely to be crippled. The East Coast Road and Old Mahabalipuram Road fully were adorned by the advertisements of G Square. Saturday dailies invariably carried the jacket advertisements of G Square.
At this juncture, Junior Vikatan, a bi-weekly from Vikatan group, in January this year brought out a story insinuating that G Square’s astonishing growth is attributed to their closeness to power corridors and it is rumoured that the money of one Anna Nagar Karthi, son of Anna Nagar MLA Mohan is also in G Square.
G Square would naturally be aggrieved by this story and the natural recourse for them could only be to file a defamation suit in a civil court. G Square did send legal notice to Junior Vikatan on 03.02.2022. Interestingly the counsel for G Square is DMK Rajya Sabha MP P. Wilson’s firm P.Wilson Associates.
The notice said that the story published is entirely defamatory and concocted. Fair enough.
Then the notice went on to say that one Kevin who claimed to be close associate of Vikatan Group Director Srinivasan and another Director KM Venkateswara. Apart from these two Directors, the name of Tmt. Radhika Srinivasan, wife of Vikatan MD Srinivasan was also included. This is a mischief of none other than P. Wilson, who is bent upon that the entire media is turned against the DMK government.
The said Kevin, had called G Square’s MD Ramajeyam @ Bala on 18.01.2022, introduced himself to be an associate of Vikatan MD Srinivasan demanded Rs. 50 lakhs. To substantiate his threat Kevin sent photo copy of two pages of Junior Vikatan article which he claimed will appear in Junior Vikatan. The next day the same article appeared word by word in the magazine. The notice claimed that the said Kevin is blackmailing and threatening to extort money. Thereafter the said Kevin again called (no date mentioned) Bala and demanded 15 lakhs mamool per month. He also boasted that only due to articles appeared in Vikatan, the firm M/s Greenhouse promoters of Sadiq Basha collapsed.
But even as per police records Kevin was an employee of Greenhouse promoters.
The notice claimed a loss of Rs. One crore and demanded vikatan group to cease and desist from publishing any more defamatory articles against G Square.
“Vikatan promptly sent a reply on 07.02.2022. Among others the reply stated that “In your notice it is stated that your client got a call on 18.01.2022 (Tuesday) at about 9.15 p.m and threatened and demanded Rs.50 lakhs for not publishing the news about your client in the Junior Vikatan issue dated 23.1.2022, which would be available on shops from-on 18.1.2022 (Tuesday evening). Please be informed to advise your client that “Junior vikatan” is a bi-weekly magazine and is available on shops on every Wednesday and Saturday of a week. For an issue to be released on Wednesday, editorial content will be completed and the forms will be sent to print on Monday evening and the printed issue will be ready on Tuesday and will be sent to distributors on Tuesday. That is, any prudent man would aware that the Wednesday-magazine will be sent to distributor on Tuesday-itself and will be available in shops on Tuesday evening or Wednesday. Therefore, the allegation that, to stop a news item from being published in Junior vikatan (issue dated 23.1.2022 which would be available in shops on Tuesday/Wednesday), a person named Kevin, called your client on Tuesday night(18.1.2022) is more of false & imaginary cock & bull story, created for the purpose of issuing the legal notice dated 3.2.2022.”
The notice went on to add that if at all the threat is true, any prudent businessman would have contacted the Vikatan management and checked the veracity of the complaint. Vikatan demanded to produce, the number, screenshot and other details of the alleged calls so that Vikatan would take legal action. If not, it would only be construed that the entire allegations are concocted.
G Square never bothered to reply. Kindly note, the rejoinder to notice was sent on 07.02.2022.
Subsequently, G Square could have sued Vikatan for defamation immediately. But, nothing happened.
All of a sudden, news appeared in media that one Kevin was arrested on 21.05.2022. Later it was revealed that, apart from Kevin, the following were included as accused.
1) Kevin (arrested)
2) One unidentifiable person
3) Persons concerned with the affairs of Junior Vikatan
(This blanket addition is to include any one from the Vikatan Group, including its Chairman Srinivasan. This can include the readers of Junior Vikatan too)
4) Concerned reporter and Editor of Junior Vikatan
6) Savukku Shankar (This author)
It was perplexing as to why unconnected people are included in the FIR. Details about why others were included in the FIR apart from Kevin are explained in the following interviews by the author.
Though in the accused column the names of Vikatan MD, his wife and another Director was not added, their names are mentioned in multiple places in the FIR. The final portion of the FIR reads, “Therefore, this clearly goes to show that there is active connivance and criminal conspiracy between Mr.Kevin and Mr.B.Srinivasan, Mrs.Radhika Srinivasan and Mr.Kumar Mannore Venkateswara to extort money from our company founder and Managing Director Mr.Ramajayam @ Bala by blackmailing and threatening to publish defamatory articles in their Junior Vikatan Magazine.”
The complaint was not filed by Ramajeyam @ Bala but, one Purushotham Kumar, Chief Compliance Officer of G Square. He states that, he is filing the complaint on behalf of his boss as Bala is not in country.
The first portion of the complaint is nothing but a copy paste of the Legal Notice sent by P. Wilson. If you read the language, its legal language. An extract of the FIR.
“I state that all the above allegations are per se false, baseless and fictitious and made with the sole intention of balckmailing and extorting money and defaming our Managing Director Mr.Ramajayam @ Bala and our company since we refused to accede to their blackmail and threats and extortion of money. Though any name is not specifically mentioned in this article, a reading of this article along with the subsequent article, which repeats the same allegations but with the name of our Managing Director Mr.Ramajayam @ Bala and our company, shows that the article is referring to them only. The allegations are dealt with in more detail herein below. 4. The fact that said Mr.Kevin intentionally and deliberately publishing false, baseless, defamatory articles about our company and our Group’s founder cum Managing Director Mr.Ramajayam @ Bala and from the fact that on 18.01.2022 Mr. Kevin sent to our Company’s founder Mr.Ramajayam @ Bala a screenshot of the article, that was going to be published on the next day in Junior Vikatan i.e., on 19.01.2022 in a magazine dated as 23.01.2022 he threatened based on this information. The article shared by Mr. Kevin was printed word for word”
The rest of the FIR was an addendum to the legal notice, which has been added with an intention to include penal provisions.
“Since we were not willing to accede to their dubious methods to blackmail and extort money from us, we issued a legal notice through our advocates, dated 03.02.2022 to the directors of Vikatan Group of companies and the editor and reporters of ‘Junior Vikatan’ magazine who were responsible for such defamatory articles. Since our Company MD was busy and was abroad on business, no criminal complaint was given immediately.
While the matter stood thus on 9.5.2022 when our MD was not in station an unidentified person (whom I can identify) came to our office around 11 am and asked whether Mr.Ramajayam @ Bala is available. When I enquired he said that Kevin has sent him and asked to meet mr.Ramajayam. When I enquired as to why he wanted to meet Mr.Ramajayam the said person threatened by saying “கெவின் அவர்கர் ள் கேட்டட் ஐம்பது லட்சட் ம் (Rs.50,00,000) ரூபாயை மாமூலாக மாதா மாதம் கொடுக்கவில்லை என்றால் உங்களது நிறுவன இயக்குனரைப் பற்றி மேலும் சர்ச்ர் சைச் சைக்குரிய பதிவுகளையும் செய்திகளையும் பத்திரிகை யிலும், facebook, WhatsApp, Youtube, Twitter, online மற்றும் Digital மீடியா மூலமும் வெளியிடுவோம் என்றும் என்னை மிரட்டினார்” Further he threatened saying “மேலும் கேட்டட் ஐம்பது லட்சட் ம் ரூபாயை தரமறுத்தால் என்னையும் எங்களது நிறுவன இயக்குனரையும் நடு ரோட்டிட் ல் வண்டியை ஏற்றி காலி செய்து அடையாளம் தெரியாமல் செய்துவிடுவேன் என்று மிரட்டிட் னார்.” ர் when I asked why he is threatening us like this, he abused me “ஒத்தா எங்களுக்கும் மீடியாவில் பெரிய contact உள்ளது, அதை விட பெரிய பெரிய ஆட்களும் தெரியும், அதை வைத்துத் மிரட்டி அசிங்க படுத்துத் வேன் என்று மிரட்டிட் னார். ர் நாங்க கேட்டட் மாமூல் பணம் கொடுக்கலனா நான் சொன்னது நடக்குதா இல்லையா பாரு சொல்லிவிட்டுட்டு சென்று விட்டார்” and left the place.
Apart from that on May 15th May 2022, Mr.Maridhas in his Facebook page with profile ‘Writer maridhass has posted the video
containing malicious and slanderous baseless allegations about our Managing Director Ramajayam @ Bala and our company G Square Pvt Ltd which is nothing but an offshoot of Kevin’s call on 18.01.2022 threatening and blackmailing in order to extort money from our Managing Director Ramajayam @ Bala and our Company G Square Pvt Ltd.
Let us now examine the sections included one by one. Before that, it has to be noted that under the column, reasons for delay in filing FIR, the police have mentioned “No Delay”, whereas the complainant himself in his complaint has stated that the delay is due to the non-availability of his boss – Bala.
Let us now go to the FIR. The FIR in crime number 221 of 2022 Mylapore PS has been registered under the following sections.
147 is a penal provision and it has to be read with 146
146 says “Whenever force or violence is used by an unlawful assembly, or by any member thereof, in prosecution of the common object of such assembly, every member of such assembly is guilty of the offence of rioting”
This provision was added following the alleged threat by an unidentified person who went to G Square office on 09.05.2022. Rioting provision can be invoked when there is an unlawful assembly and for an unlawful assembly 5 persons are required. Even according to the complaint, the unidentified person came alone. As such, 147 cannot be invoked.
294 (b) (b) sings, recites or utters any obscene song, ballad or words, in or near any public place, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three months, or with fine, or with both.
According to the FIR, an unidentified person spoke abusively and this section is applicable. But should not the FIR filed against this ‘unidentified person’ ? Why Maridoss, Savukku Shankar, Junior Vikatan Editor and Reporter are implicated ?
120-B Whoever is a party to a criminal conspiracy to commit an offence punishable with death, 2[imprisonment for life] or rigorous imprisonment for a term of two years or upwards, shall, where no express provision is made in this Code for the punishment of such a conspiracy, be punished in the same manner as if he had abetted such offence.
Whoever is a party to a criminal conspiracy other than a criminal conspiracy to commit an offence punishable as aforesaid shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term not exceeding six months, or with fine or with both.
120-B can be invoked when an offence is contemplated or committed. According to the FIR, the offence committed here is 384 IPC
384 IPC 384. Punishment for extortion.—Whoever commits extortion shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both.
In Isaac Isanga Musumba Vs. State, reported in 2014 (15) SCC 357, the SC laid down the law as to what is extortion.
“In the complaint, there is no mention whatsoever that pursuant to the demands made by the accused, any amount was delivered to the accused by the complainants. If that be so, we fail to see as to how an offence of extortion as defined in Section 383, IPC is made out. Section 383, IPC states that whoever intentionally puts any person in fear of any injury to that person, or to any other, and thereby dishonestly induces the person so put in fear to deliver to any person any property, or valuable security or anything signed or sealed which may be converted into a valuable security, commits ‘extortion’. Hence, unless property is delivered to the accused person pursuant to the threat, no offence of extortion is made out and an FIR for the offence under Section 384 could not have been registered by the police”
This citation is widely cited in most of the litigations regarding extortion. Accordingly there has to be a ’delivery’ in pursuant of the threat issued which would constitute extortion.
In Cr. No. 221 of 2022, nowhere it has been mentioned that any money was delivered by G Square in pursuant of the threat issued by Kevin on behalf of Vikatan, Savukku Shankar or Maridoss. This section has been included without any application of mind or basic knowledge of law. When the invocation of Section 384 itself is wrong, 120-B doesn’t apply here.
The reason 120-B is invoked is only to implicate the Vikatan Group, Maridoss and this author.
The only remaining section is 506 (2) IPC.
If threat be to cause death or grievous hurt, etc — and if the threat be to cause death or grievous hurt, or to cause the destruction of any property by fire, or to cause an offence punishable with death or imprisonment for life, of with imprisonment for a term which may extend to seven years, or to impute unchastity to a woman, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years, or with fine, or with both.
To invoke this section, the Chennai City Police has added a piece of fiction that the said ‘unidentified person’ threatened G Square that Bala will be killed in a road accident if he fails to pay.
Let us assume, this is true. Even if this is true, the accused to be fixed in this case is the ‘unidentified’ person and not Junior Vikatan Editor or Maridoss.
A cursory reading of the entire FIR proves that the case has been registered in a hurried manner, only with the intention of implicating this author, Maridoss and Vikatan group. In their desperation, they have forgotten the law they were taught in Police Academy or PRS and registered a case which is liable to be quashed at admission.
The FIR is blatant abuse of law by Chennai City Police Commissioner Shankar Jiwal to please his pay master Viz. G. Square Bala @ Ramajeyam.
The registration of FIR has infuriated the entire media and they are furious about the implication of a 90 year media group. Till this article is published, there is no indication of any course correction by the police.
In spite of the huge embarrassment caused by Shankar Jiwal to the government, TN CM MK. Stalin is incapable of replacing him and procrastinating for reasons best known to his family members.
If police officers are allowed to run riot like this, not only the DMK, but the state of Tamil Nadu is in for doomsday.