Tamil Nadu minister kidnapped son, couple tells rights panel

August 6th, 2008 - 7:40 pm ICT by IANS  

Chennai, Aug 6 (IANS) A couple Wednesday alleged before the state Human Rights Commission that N.K.K.P. Raja, Tamil Nadu minister for handlooms and textiles, has kidnapped their son. “Palanichamy and Malarvizhi’s son G. Sivabalan is still under the custody of the minister in spite of a clear deposition in the high court, and we have now sought the intervention of the state Human Rights Commission to set him at liberty immediately,” the couple’s lawyer R. Ramesh told IANS.

“Raja is holding on to my son only because the minister hopes Sivabalan will make a statement in favour of the minister’s attempt to grab our ancestral property,” Malarvizhi told reporters separately.

Raja, however, has denied the allegations.

“Anybody can use my name and accuse me of anything because I am a public figure. That doesn’t mean the charges are true,” Raja had claimed July 30 in Erode, his and the couple’s hometown.

A division bench of the Madras High Court July 28 ordered the police to give protection to the middle-aged couple, living in Erode’s vicinity, when it was presented to the court in Chennai after a writ of habeas corpus.

Leader of Opposition and AIADMK chief J. Jayalalitha had condemned Raja’s continuation in the cabinet in the light of serious charges recorded against him in the high court.

Several reports of land-grabbing have appeared in the local media in this industrial region that accounts for roughly 25 percent of the nation’s machine and handwoven textile output, following the creation of a railway divisional headquarters in nearby Salem.

Situated in a 100-km radius - some 300 km southwest of Tamil Nadu capital Chennai - the twin textile districts of Erode and Salem were considered very prosperous till industrial pollution, power and water shortages rendered them almost unviable in financial terms.

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