‘Fair investigation killed before it begins’: TN Raj Bhavan targets DMK, police in petrol-bomb-hurling case

The Raj Bhavan alleged that the action of the police prevented a "detailed interrogation" that could have exposed those behind the attack.

ByVinodh Arulappan

Published Oct 26, 2023 | 10:33 PMUpdatedOct 26, 2023 | 10:34 PM

‘Fair investigation killed before it begins’: TN Raj Bhavan targets DMK, police in petrol-bomb-hurling case

The incident of a petrol bomb being hurled at the Raj Bhavan gates in Chennai took a turn as Governor RN Ravi alleged that the police acted in a hurry and prevented a detailed investigation into the matter.

On the afternoon of Wednesday, 25 October, a history-sheeter named “Karukka” Vinod hurdled a Molotov cocktail at the main entrance of the Governor’s official residence while raising anti-NEET slogans.

The policemen posted for security caught him. He was subsequently booked under four sections of the law and lodged in the Puzhal prison under judicial custody.

On Thursday, Ravi issued a brief statement on the official X account of the Raj Bhavan, levelling allegations against the Chennai City Police.

The statement said that the police did not register Raj Bhavan’s complaint about the attack.

It added that the suo motu action of the police diluted the attack to an act of simple vandalism, and the accused was hurriedly arrested and remanded to jail at midnight, after a magistrate was woken up.

The Raj Bhavan also charged that the action of the police prevented a “detailed interrogation” which could have exposed those behind the attack.

“Fair investigation is killed before it begins”, the Governor’s office stated.

Related: Anti-NEET slogans raised, petrol bomb hurled at TN Raj Bhavan

Raj Bhavan’s complaint

After the attack, the Governor’s Deputy Secretary T Sengottaiyan lodged a complaint with the Chennai City commissioner of police (CP) mentioning the incident.

He stated in the complaint that after the petrol bomb was hurled at the main entrance — Gate-1 — of the Raj Bhavan, it burst with a huge sound and set fire to the entrance.

He added that even as the Raj Bhavan security personnel were attempting to subdue the attacker, another petrol bomb was hurled, which resulted in severe damage to the main entrance to Raj Bhavan.

Somehow, one of the assailants was overpowered by the security.

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‘Consistent threats and attacks’

Meanwhile, the Raj Bhavan, in the complaint, charged that the DMK and its allied parties had been issuing threats to the Governor’s life, and that the petrol bomb attack was a consequence of it.

“This is also to inform you that for the last several months there have been sustained vicious attacks on the Hon’ble Governor using filthy abuses and wielding threats to his life,” said the complaint.

“These verbal attacks and threats to the Hon’ble Governor have been made mostly by leaders and workers of DMK and its allies in their public meetings and through their social media,” it added. “These threats are intended to overawe the Hon’ble Governor and restrain him in discharging his Constitutional duties.”

It continued: “However, complaints lodged with police have been inconsequential due to police inaction. To illustrate, in an incident on 18 April, 2022, the Hon’ble Governor was physically attacked with sticks and stones while he was on his way to attend a scheduled function at the Dharmapuram Adhinam. A complaint was lodged by the Raj Bhavan, but the FIR was not registered. No action was taken against the assailants.”

It also said: “There have been incidents of public threats to the life of Hon’ble Governor. However, unfortunately in all these cases of abuse, attack, and assault on the Hon’ble Governor, the police did not register FIR faithfully and instead trivialised the serious incidents into minor offences with no worthwhile follow-up. Such a studied indifference by police to serious threats to the Hon’ble Governor has vitiated the security of the Hon’ble Governor and the Raj Bhavan. Today’s brazen bomb attacks on the Raj Bhavan is a consequence of it.”

The complaint also stated that the “consistent ongoing verbal and physical threats and attacks” on the Governor — the highest Constitutional authority in the state — had led to the deterioration of security to such an extent that now brazen bomb attacks had begun.

The deputy secretary urged the CP to take serious cognizance of attacks, which he said constituted offences including under Section 124 of the IPC.

“A Governor cannot work under the shadow of constant threats. Hence, I urge you to take it seriously and do the needful to ensure proper investigation, due punishment to all the involved persons including conspirators behind the attacks, and proper security to the Hon’ble Governor,” he said.

Timeline: RN Ravi, and DMK govt in TN have been at loggerheads since 2021

Police refute allegations

Meanwhile, the Chennai City Police refuted the allegations of the Raj Bhavan.

Accused Vinod in the police custody after the attack

Senior city police officials told South First that the accused was carrying four Molotov cocktails and attempted to throw two bottles, which fell outside the outer cordon on Sardar Patel Road.

Subsequently, he was overpowered and apprehended by the security personnel, they said, adding that two more bottles filled with petrol were also seized from him.

No damage took place in the surroundings of Raj Bhavan, they asserted.

The city police also stated that the accused was immediately arrested and confessed during interrogation that he was involved in the incident and did it as an action of opposing NEET.

The accused was booked under five sections and was remanded in judicial custody, said the cops.

On the allegations from the Raj Bhavan, the officials said that the FIR was filed within three hours of the incident.

“The incident happened around 2.45 pm and the FIR was filed around 5 pm. The Raj Bhavan preferred to complain at 10 pm. There is no question of diluting the incident, and everyone knows that the accused has to be produced before a court within 24 hours of the arrest,” the officials said.

They added that there was a difference between being swift and being in a hurry. “The police acted swiftly on the incident and the interrogation will not end here. The accused will be taken into police custody for further investigation in the case,” they noted.

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DMK rebuts allegations

Speaking to reporters about the incident at the Chennai airport, DMK MP K Kanimozhi said that Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and her party’s chief MK Stalin had given instructions to the police to conduct a thorough investigation into the incident.

DMK organising secretary RS Bharathi, responding to the allegations of the Raj Bhavan, stated that the Governor himself was a former police officer, and knew how the law functioned and the time taken for a full-fledged investigation.

“If the Governor wants to politicise the issue, we can’t do anything. As far as the DMK is concerned, the party is against violence and now the police have taken swift action,” he added.

Law Minister Ragupathi told reporters that the government is aware of the law-and-order situation of the state and was maintaining it well.

“Unless an FIR is filed, an arrest cannot be made, and whenever a protest is organised and held in front of the Raj Bhavan, even if it is our ally parties, the police booked them,” the minister said.

He also charged that the BJP was politicising the issue. Ravi was appointed Tamil Nadu Governor by the BJP government at the Centre.

Also read: DMK trends #GetOutRavi as Governor delays online gambling bill

NIA probe demanded

Meanwhile, the BJP Mahila Morcha national president and Tamil Nadu MLA Vanathi Srinivasan sought an investigation by the NIA or the CBI into the issue.

In a statement, the MLA said that it was not possible for an individual to hurl a petrol bomb at the Raj Bhavan, and the background of the accused must be thoroughly investigated.

She also alleged that the law and order of the state had completely deteriorated, and pointed out that the accused was previously arrested for hurling petrol bombs at BJP offices.

“The police, which function under the DMK, will not handle the issue appropriately. Hence, the case should be transferred to the NIA or the CBI,” she demanded.

Also read: Tamil Nadu Governor and government at loggerheads again