Controversial Tamil Nadu YouTuber ‘Savukku’ Shankar faces fresh allegations

Shankar has been a familiar face in Tamil social media for over a decade for his commentary on political matters and fierce criticism of the ruling DMK government and its policies.

BySouth First Desk

Published May 15, 2024 | 6:26 PMUpdatedMay 15, 2024 | 6:26 PM

Goondas Act on YouTuber 'Savukku' Shankar

Tamil Nadu police registered another case against YouTuber ‘Savukku’ Shankar, who has been arrested in various cases including for making offensive remarks against women police personnel.

The piling up of cases against Shankar, who is infamous for making defamatory comments and allegations against politicians and officials, is being seen as witch-hunting of critics by ruling DMK government in Tamil Nadu.

The latest case stems from complaints accusing Shankar of defaming Pasumpon Muthuramalinga Thevar, who was a politician and patriarch of the Thevar community, with an alleged attempt to incite riots between communities.

Shankar supposedly made the defamatory comments on Red Pix YouTube channel, which has earlier aired his interviews.

Currently lodged in the Coimbatore Central prison, Shankar was detained under the Goondas Act on Sunday, 12 May, Chennai city police said.

Also Read: ‘Savukku’ Shankar’s arrest in TN sparks debate on free speech and whistleblower rights

Shankar alleges assault by women guards

Shankar has also lodged a complaint alleging that female guards tried to assault him by twisting his right hand.

During his court appearance before the Principal Criminal Magistrate, he claimed his arm was already broken and that he was under medication.

The judge sent him to the hospital for treatment saying while also inquiring about the matter to the woman police inspector.  The inspector denied Shankar’s claims, stating that no assault occurred and even mentioned his refusal to eat when offered food.

Shankar has earlier claimed that the Superintendent of Coimbatore Central Prison assaulted him and broke his arm.

‘Savukku’ Shankar has been a familiar face in Tamil social media for over a decade for his commentary on political matters and fierce criticism of the ruling DMK government and its policies.

He was arrested on 4 May after the Cybercrime Wing of the Coimbatore police acted on allegations that he made derogatory remarks against women police personnel during a recent YouTube interview.

Also Read: YouTuber Gerald Felix arrested by TN police in ‘Savukku’ Shankar case

Claims of custodial torture, legal battles

However, a few days after his arrest, Shankar’s mother Kamala accused the police of torturing her son in jail. She moved the Madras High Court with allegations that her son was facing custodial torture.

She also requested that he be provided with proper medical treatment, and filed a habeas corpus petition seeking a judicial probe.

Kamala alleged that Shankar exposing corruption scandals involving influential figures led to false charges against him by the government and corrupt officials.

Subsequently, the Coimbatore District Legal Services Authority was asked to submit a report on his health condition.

Shankar was initially sentenced to six months of imprisonment on 15 September 2023 for objectionable remarks against the higher judiciary and the judge. However, the Supreme Court on 12 November suspended his sentence while directing him not to make any comments or videos on court proceedings.

Savukku has several cases pending against him dating back a few years including those under Sections 294(b), 509, and 353 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). Additionally, he is accused under Section 4 of the Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Harassment of Woman Act and Section 67 of the Information Technology Act, 2000.

A former employee of the state vigilance and anti-corruption department, Shankar’s rise to fame was in 2008 after he shared audio recordings that allegedly revealed illicit wiretapping activities conducted by law enforcement agencies in the state.

Also Read: YouTuber ‘Savukku’ Shankar detained under Goondas Act 

Charges against Shankar

In 2008, he faced arrest for allegedly leaking audio transcripts, of a conversation between an ADGP and a then-minister that cost the minister her job.

A few years later, he claimed he leaked transcripts of conversations between a senior police officer and DMK party leaders in the 2G case.

He has relentlessly pursued corruption cases against the powerful, often producing documents that embarrassed the politicians in power in AIADMK and the DMK.

However, his outspoken nature, the cavalier manner in which he slandered people without producing evidence, and intrusion into people’s personal matters made him a prime target for the ruling government and many other politicians, bureaucrats, and policemen.

He frequently called out police misconduct on his YouTube channel, earning their ire.

In a recent interview on Red Pix YouTube channel, Shankar purportedly made damning allegations regarding the conduct of several women police constables and sub-inspectors, implying they engaged in compromises with senior male officers for personal gain in transfers, postings, and promotions.

Also Read: Will continue to expose DMK even after I come out of jail, says Savukku Shankar

Fresh cases filed

The video also reportedly contained derogatory remarks about the police force at large.

Tamil Nadu police arrested the editor of Red Pix YouTube channel, Felix Gerald on 11 May, in connection with the cases against Shankar.

Gerald is the second accused in one of the cases against Shankar, allegedly for instigating him into making derogatory statements against women police personnel in an interview with him on his channel.

Meanwhile, another case has been taken up against Shankar following a harassment complaint by journalist Sandhya Ravishankar.

The Chennai police confirmed the case against Shankar and updated the details of one more case against him, lodged by Veeralakshmi, founder and leader of Tamilar Munnetra Padai.

(Edited by Shauqueen Mizaj)