Tamil Nadu: BJP functionaries arrested for ‘blackmailing’ Dharapuram Adheenam

The arrest comes after the seer’s brother lodged a complaint


The Mayiladuthurai police in Tamil Nadu have arrested four individuals including two BJP functionaries for allegedly threatening and blackmailing the pontiff of the Dharmapuram Adheenam mutt. 

The BJP functionaries allegedly threatened to release “obscene” video and audio clips of Masillamani Desiga Gnanasambanda Swamigal, the 27th Gurumaha Sannithanam of the mutt. 

Those arrested included K. Agoram, BJP Mayiladuthurai district president; Vignesh, BJP district secretary; and Vinoth, Thanjavur North Youth Wing Secretary. The FIR was registered following a complaint filed by Viruthagiri, brother and assistant of the pontiff, on February 25. 

According to the First Information Report filed by the police, Vignesh, Vinoth and two others threatened and blackmailed the Adheenam, saying that they would release “obscene” audio and video clips of the pontiff on social media if the mutt head doesn’t pay money. 

Viruthagiri in his complaint said that Vinoth and Vignesh acted upon the instructions of Agoram; Kodiyarasu, founder of Kalaimagal school; and advocate Jayachandran. Viruthagiri also said that the accused demanded “lump sum” and also tried to “strangle” him. 

The Mayiladuthurai police had booked seven persons including one Senthil, who was working for Dharmapuram Adheenam. The case was registered under Sections 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 307 (attempt to murder), 389 (putting a person in fear of accusation of an offence), 506 (ii) (criminal intimidation) and 120 B (whoever is a party to a criminal conspiracy to commit an offence) of the Indian Penal Code. 

The four persons arrested, including the BJP functionaries, have been remanded for 15 days. 

The Dharapuram Adheenam had run into controversies on two occasions after the DMK came to power in 2021. The first time, the pontiff’s palanquin ride called as pattina pravesam in Tamil, sparked controversy. The Mayiladuthurai district administration issued a ban on the pattina pravesam event by calling it as “human rights violation.” When the controversy came up the BJP leaders in the state stood by the seer and said that it is a ritual and cannot be termed as human rights violation. The BJP and several other adheenams in the state criticised the DMK government for trying to interfere in traditions. 

Later yet another controversy came up when the seer threatened to sit in an indefinite fast against the district administration action against the free hospital run by the mutt. 

It may also recalled that Dharmapurm aadheenam was one among the 21 mutt leaders (seers) from Tamil Nadu who attended the inauguration of the new parliament in Delhi when a Sengol from Tamil Nadu was placed there by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. 


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