AIADMK leadership tussle: EPS sends legal notice to OPS over misuse of party name, symbol

Move follows OPS, who was expelled from the party, using an AIADMK letterhead to issue a circular to his followers.

ByShilpa Nair

Published Dec 23, 2022 | 9:14 AM Updated Dec 23, 2022 | 9:14 AM

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Edappadi K Palaniswami (EPS), the interim general secretary of the AIADMK, has sent a legal notice to expelled party leader O Panneerselvam (OPS) accusing the latter of “misrepresentation” and “forgery” by using the name of the party, its symbol, headquarters address and the seal.

A copy of the legal notice was released by the AIADMK on Thursday, 22 December.

The trigger for the legal notice was a circular issued as “headquarters announcement” on the letterhead of the AIADMK by OPS on 17 December, which was also affixed with a “forged” seal of the party.

According to EPS, in that circular, OPS misrepresented himself as “Coordinator and Treasurer“ of the AIADMK and called for a meeting of office bearers of the headquarters and district secretaries on 21 December in Chennai.

Accusing the expelled leader of “resorting to cheap tactics”, the legal notice stated that forging the seal of the headquarters of the party and the letterhead is a “wholly criminal act”.

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What the notice says

“Such an act is outright illegal, amounts to fraudulent misrepresentation and forgery, and as such you are liable to be punished as per the penal laws of the land,” the notice read.

It also reminded OPS that he is no longer a member of the party having being expelled from the primary membership during the General Council meeting held on 11 July.

While pointing out that he was “desperately taking all possible steps to hold on as the Coordinator and Treasurer” of the AIADMK, EPS’ counsel stated that OPS had no semblance of right to use the name of the party, its seal or even the office address, for the legal possession of headquarters was handed over to interim general secretary EPS by the Madras High Court on 20 July.

Additionally, the EPS camp also drew attention to how OPS’ actions were in violation of court orders.

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‘Violating court orders’

”Your conduct is not only in violation of the orders of the High Court dated 20.07.2022 and the Supreme Court dated 12.09.2022, but also of the Division Bench of the High Court wherein, the validity of the General Council Meeting (during which OPS was expelled) held on 11.07.2022 was upheld.”

The notice further demanded OPS withdraw the circular issued in the name of the AIADMK headquarters and desist from using the name or address or seal of the party, failing which EPS would initiate appropriate civil and criminal proceedings against him in the appropriate forum.

Meanwhile, amid the bitter leadership tussle between EPS and OPS, in what comes as a relief for the former, the Election Commission acknowledged the annual audit financial report of the AIADMK submitted by EPS in his capacity as the interim general secretary.

The leadership dispute, however, is yet to be settled in the Supreme Court and even in the Election Commission.