Story behind minister Nehru-MP Tiruchi Siva face off and how DGP’s wrath forced DMK into action

The DMK tried to pass off the issue as inter-party conflict, but was unaware of the DGP's order to arrest its functionaries.

ByVinodh Arulappan

Published Mar 17, 2023 | 7:06 PMUpdatedMar 18, 2023 | 8:46 AM

Story behind minister Nehru-MP Tiruchi Siva face off and how DGP’s wrath forced DMK into action

The ruling DMK could very well have brushed aside the public infighting between its minister KN Nehru and MP Tiruchi Siva, but for the wrath of Tamil Nadu top cop Sylendra Babu.

DGP Sylendra Babu’s anger over DMK functionaries attacking a police station and assaulting a woman police officer, it seems, forced the ruling party under Chief Minister MK Stalin to initiate disciplinary action against its own cadres.

KN Nehru-Tiruchi Siva fracas: The details

Behind-the-scenes details of what transpired between supporters of Tamil Nadu minister KN Nehru and Rajya Sabha member Tiruchi Siva on Wednesday, 15 March, have started emerging now.

On Wednesday, Nehru’s supporters vandalised Tiruchi Siva’s house. They also barged into the Sessions Court Police Station, where they attacked the detainees who showed black flags to the minister at the inauguration of a badminton court.

Tiruchi Siva’s supporters were protesting against the minister Nehru not inviting the Rajya Sabha member to the inauguration of the badminton court, an event conducted by the district administration.

Following the attack on the MP’s house, Tiruchi Siva’s personal assistant went to the Sessions Court Police Station to lodge a complaint.

Learning of this, DMK functionaries — including councillor Kajamalai Vijay, district deputy secretary T Muthuselvam, district treasurer S Muthuraj, and ward secretary V Ramadoss — barged into the police station and attacked the complainant and also the Tiruchi Siva supporters who were detained for waving a black flag at KN Nehru.

DMK functionaries assaulted woman cop

A woman police personnel, Shanthi, who tried to prevent the DMK functionaries from entering the station, was also attacked by the minister’s supporters. Sustaining injuries, she was admitted to a hospital.

Head of the Police Force (HoPC), DGP Sylendra Babu, was informed by the intelligence wing that the DMK men stormed into the police station and attacked police personnel on duty.

A furious Babu is said to have ordered City Police Commissioner M Sathiya Priya to form a special team and arrest whoever trespassed into the police station, irrespective of their party posts. He also reportedly told the police not to bow to any political pressure.

The DGP, sources said, also instructed the Tiruchi City police to release CCTV footage of the police station attack to news outlets.

DMK tries to pass off KN Nehru-Tiruchi Siva faceoff as intra-party conflict

The DMK high command, which was sluggish in its response and tried to pass off the KN Nehru-Tiruchi Siva faceoff as intra-party conflict, was not aware of the DGP’s order to arrest its functionaries.

By the time this information was bought to the notice of the Chief Minister’s Office by top officials of the intelligence unit, the Tiruchi City police, as per the directions of the DGP, had already secured a few persons who were allegedly involved in the attack.

Also read: Tamil Nadu minister KN Nehru claims DSP could ‘do anything’

Minister, top cop clash over action

According to sources, KN Nehru then called Sylendra Babu and tried to pacify him. But Babu fumed at the minister and said he didn’t care about any intra-party rift, but would not tolerate an attack on any police station.

He also apparently told the minister that he was not ready to speak more on this, and that the law would take its own course.

South First also learnt that the DGP told the minister that he would answer to the chief minister if he was asked about the decision.

The information was passed to the DMK high command and, considering that it would be a humiliation if the police arrested the ruling party functionaries, the party — in an urgent move — released a statement suspending four functionaries without mentioning the reason.

Enraged with Nehru, the DMK high command also instructed him to surrender the concerned functionaries in court before the police arrested them.

Also read: DMK councillor, aides held for beating man to death

Tiruchi Siva son lashes out at DMK, KN Nehru

Tiruchi Siva’s son Surya Siva, a former BJP leader, told South First: “Is showing a black flag as a sign of protest a great crime? Hasn’t the DMK done it before? You (the DMK) have shown the black flag to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Governor RN Ravi, and late prime minister Indira Gandhi.”

He added: “As a seasoned politician, KN Nehru could have ignored it, as he ignored my father [Tiruchi Siva] who was an MP for 30 years.”

Surya also said: “The entire attack had happened in front of the minister. After the attack, his supporters got into their cars, which were in the minister’s convoy, and left the place. Can they even think of doing the same to minister Anbil Magesh, who is also doing power politics in Tiruchi?”

He also alleged that Stalin had taken action against the functionaries only for attacking the police station and not for attacking Tiruchi Siva’s house.

Also read: Suriya Siva quits Tamil Nadu BJP, hits out at leaders

DMK MLA’s name missing in FIR

According to sources from the Tiruchi City police, the FIR following Wednesday’s incident mentioned only trespassing at the police station and the attack on the police personnel.

Though a complaint was given on behalf of the MP, it was withdrawn and hence the name of Srirangam MLA Palaniyandi M — said to have led the attack on Tiruchi Siva’s house — was not mentioned in the FIR, as he was not at the police station.

The police sources also said that there was an intelligence report, even before the function, that the MP’s supporters would wave a black flag at the minister, who was apprised of this.

Additional forces were deployed on the day near the MP’s house.