AIADMK’s M Manikandan met the actress, a Malaysian national, in 2017 and they stayed and travelled together in Delhi and Chennai, according to the complaint. The former minister insists the relationship was consensual; the actor complains that it was premised on his promise to marry her
The Madras high court on Wednesday rejected the anticipatory bail petition of former Tamil Nadu minister M Manikandan who faces allegations that he lured an actor into a relationship for five years on the pretext of marriage, forced her to abort and threatened her.
Justice Abdul Qudhose who rejected the petition by the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leader, ruled that the charges against him were grave and he could tamper with evidence given the powerful position he held in the past.
Manikandan, 44, has been accused of cheating, rape, causing miscarriage, hurt and criminal intimidation under the Indian Penal Code apart from section 67 (a) of the Information Technology Act that relates to publishing sexually explicit act online
Manikandan, a doctor by qualification, won the 2016 assembly election from Ramanathapuram seat after defeating the sitting MMK lawmaker. He was inducted into J Jayalalithaa’s council of ministers as Tamil Nadu’s information technology minister, a post that he continued to hold till 2019 when he was sacked after he took on his new boss, then chief minister chief minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami over cable television subscription tariff.
According to the prosecution, Manikandan was introduced to the actress, a Malaysian citizen, in May 2017 when she was working with the Malaysian Tourism Development Organisation. The prosecution told the court that Manikandan promised to marry her after divorcing his wife and the two stayed together in Chennai and New Delhi and travelled together. The accused impregnated her thrice, forced her to abort and continued to have sexual intervource with her in a forceful and brutal manner, the prosecution alleged.
Manikandan has denied the allegations, insisting that the actress filed the First Information Report against him after “several attempts for compromise” did not succeed since he didn’t accept what he described as her “extortionist demands”.
“Further, the time of the complaint, especially after the change of Government clearly shows that the defacto complainant is not aggrieved but has lodged a false complaint only with an ulterior motive to extort money,” Manikandan’s lawyer told the high court, insisting that their relationship was consensual.
In his ruling, Justice Qudhose dealt at length on what constitutes consent to a sexual act and of consent given after being assured of a marriage. “On a prima facie consideration, we cannot rule out the perpetration of fraud by the petitioner (the accused) by falsely promising the defacto complainant that he will marry her in order to quench his lust for sex,” the judge said in its order, citing verdicts of the Supreme Court.
“In the case on hand, the petitioner has been charged with a heinous crime,” the court said. “If granted anticipatory bail at this preliminary stage, that too for offence of grave nature involving a woman, the investigation may get delayed as there is every possibility that the petitioner with his influence and affluence may scuttle the investigation,” the court ruled.