Vaiko gets bail after being convicted in sedition case

Chennai: MDMK general secretary Vaiko was today convicted and sentenced to undergo one year imprisonment by a Special Court in a 2009 sedition case.

Special Court trying criminal cases against elected MPs and MLAs found Vaiko guilty under Section 124(A) (sedition) of the IPC and awarded one year jail term.

Judge J Shanthi also imposed a fine of Rs 10,000 on Vaiko, who is the MDMK candidate for the 18 July Rajya Sabha elections from Tamilnadu.

The Judge later suspended the operation of the sentence and granted one month time to Vaiko to appeal against the sentence.

Later, on a petition filed by him, the court granted bail to Vaiko. The MDMK supremo was slapped with sedition case by the then DMK regime after he made some remarks during the launch of his book ‘I am making the accusation’.

Cases under sections 124 (a) (sedition) and 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, place of birth, residence, language) of IPC were slapped against him for supporting the outlawed LTTE.

Talking to reporters outside the court after the verdict Vaiko said, “Today is the happiest day in my life.” He said he did not deny the charges and the court gave its verdict. Asserting that he would will continue to support the LTTE, Vaiko denied that he had asked for lenient punishment. “I told the judge that I had not asked lenient punishment. I will continue to support LTTE. Even if it is a life sentence I will be happy,” he added.

Meanwhile, legal experts said that the conviction would not come in any way from Vaiko contesting the Rajya Sabha elections. The 2009 case was not the first time sedition charges have been slapped against Vaiko, a vocal supporter of the Eelam Tamils.

A similar case was registered against him in 2008 for his remarks against the Indian government for its support to the Sri Lanka in the final phase of ethnic war.

In October 2016, the Additional Sessions Court acquitted the pro-LTTE leader on the ground that the prosecution has failed to prove the case beyond any reasonable doubt.

It may be recalled that the ‘Q’ Branch police had registered a case against the firebrand MDMK leader for his fiery speech at a meeting on the topic ‘Eezhathil Nadapathenna’ (What is happening in Eelam?) held at Raja Annamalai Mandram in the city on 21 October, 2008.

Police also slapped sedition charges on him for speaking in support of the banned LTTE during the meeting.
The chargesheet was filed against Vaiko for offences under section 124-A (sedition) of IPC and under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act before the George Town Magistrate court.

Vaiko was also jailed under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) in 2002, for his pro-LTTE speeches, and spent nearly 19 months in jail.

NT Bureau