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DMK says it has no links with 'drug lord' Jaffer Sadiq, decries attempts to connect him to party

Chennai, Mar 10 (PTI) Tamil Nadu Law Minister and DMK leader S Regupathy on Sunday asserted that his party has no links whatsoever with Jaffer Sadiq, the prime accused in an international drug trafficking case being investigated by the Narcotics Control Bureau.

Chennai, Mar 10 (PTI) Tamil Nadu Law Minister and DMK leader S Regupathy on Sunday asserted that his party has no links whatsoever with Jaffer Sadiq, the prime accused in an international drug trafficking case being investigated by the Narcotics Control Bureau.

The DMK also warned of legal action against those who attempt to link Sadiq with either the party or its leaders.

Speaking to reporters, Regupathy said the BJP regime has now deployed the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) to 'besmirch' the DMK regime after 'misusing' the Enforcement Directorate, the Income Tax department and the Central Bureau of Investigation for that purpose.

After the DMK assumed office in 2021, the state government has taken swift action against drug peddling and this has been lauded by courts, he said. 'Today, they (Centre) are thinking of intimidating the DMK through the NCB.' Sadiq had held the post of Chennai West-NRI Wing Deputy Organiser in the DMK until he was recently dismissed by the party after allegations connecting him to drug trafficking surfaced.

Regupathy blamed NCB Deputy Director General Gyaneshwar Singh for holding a press conference about Sadiq's arrest -- even before the probe is completed -- based on 'false calculations' to tarnish the DMK's image and 'to let the BJP gain political mileage' out of it just before the Lok Sabha polls.

The people of Tamil Nadu are aware of all such things, he said, pointing out that during the previous AIADMK regime, a 'minister' allegedly abetted the sale of banned gutkha.

While the central agencies did not act on the gutkha case despite evidence of 'kickbacks' received by AIADMK leaders, they are now desperate to somehow back the BJP-led regime at the Centre, Reghupathy alleged.

Though central authorities had said on February 15 that a lookout notice has been issued to apprehend Jaffer Sadiq, he took part in an event related to the release of the film 'Mangai' here on February 21, Regupathy said, wondering aloud 'what the NCB authorities were doing' last month without arresting him.

Recalling a 2013 NCB case against Sadiq, the law minister blamed the then AIADMK government and the central agency for not properly handling it and ensuring that the accused was convicted.

He claimed that it was a BJP advocate, the 'head of the saffron party's Tamil Nadu legal wing', who represented Sadiq in the case. It was the AIADMK regime (2011-21) that 'saved' Jaffer Sadiq, Regupathy alleged.

Addressing the issue of Sadiq being given membership in the party despite his links to the 2013 case, the senior DMK leader said that his party has over two crore members and it is not practically possible to check the antecedents of every single person who sought admission into it.

At the same time, he emphasised, whenever the wrongdoing of a member has been brought to the party's notice, immediate action has always been taken. 'People like Jaffer Sadiq have been expelled from the party,' he asserted.

In the 2013 case, Sadiq was acquitted and then joined the DMK. Also, such a case against him was not in the public domain at the time of his joining the party, and when allegations related to drug trafficking surfaced he was expelled, Reghupathy said.

'In one year, courts dispose of about 10 lakh cases. It is not possible to verify every single case to ascertain who was acquitted and who was convicted. It is the BJP and AIADMK who are responsible for Sadiq's acquittal in the 2013 (narcotics) case,' he reiterated.

When asked if Sadiq's arrest is 'political' in nature or if the arrest made just before the polls is a 'political activity', the minister said it was based on a 'wrong calculation' made by the BJP regime to 'malign' the DMK by arresting Sadiq just before the Lok Sabha polls.

The wrong calculation has been defeated by the DMK as Sadiq was already expelled from the party even before he was arrested. 'The DMK has no links whatsoever with Jaffer Sadiq. Those who have links with Sadiq are in the AIADMK and the BJP,' the minister went on to allege.

Since the general elections are round the corner, the BJP-led Centre is 'daydreaming' of levelling false allegations against the DMK, he said. 'People know pretty well that the DMK will never indulge in illegal activities and will never have any person in its midst who indulges in such activities,' he claimed.

Only the Mundra port in Gujarat is a 'hub' of drug trafficking and states like Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Gujarat have more number of cases related to drugs, Regupathy claimed, and accused the BJP of indulging in 'propaganda' to paint Tamil Nadu as a 'drug-tainted' state.

This is being done to downplay the state's progress and development among voters of the northern states, he commented, remarking that 'drug peddlers become clean when they join the BJP'.

Pointing out that the drug seizure linked to Sadiq was made by the NCB in Delhi, the DMK leader sought to illustrate that there were no related seizures in Tamil Nadu.

In Tamil Nadu, drug trafficking 'does not happen at all' and the whole world is aware that the state is home to 'zero' Ganja cultivation, Reghupathy claimed.

Hitting out at the NCB for making 'claims' about a case that are yet to be proven before a competent court, the law minister said the press conference held by the senior official of the enforcement agency went against the law.

'Holding a press meet on a case in which investigation is yet to be completed is condemnable,' he said.

Answering a question, the minister said the party did not receive a 'single naya paisa' from Sadiq.

On AIADMK chief and former chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami visiting Governor R N Ravi over the issue, he mocked at the opposition party, saying, 'Palaniswami can only tell the governor that his party-led government failed to act in the 2013 case against Sadiq.' However, the DMK has always prosecuted the culprits and ensured punishment for them, he added.

DMK Rajya Sabha MP and senior advocate P Wilson told reporters that anyone attempting to link his party and its leaders to the NCB case against Sadiq would have to face civil and criminal prosecution. PTI VGN ANE

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