Chennai Police on Tuesday seized copies of a Tamil book on the Rafale deal just hours before its release citing model code of conduct.
In an action that triggered outrage on social media, the Chennai police swopped down on the office of Bharathi Puttakalayam – a publishing company – located in Chennai’s Teynampet and seized all the 142 copies of the book.
The book, titled Nattai Ulukkum Rafale Bera Uzhaal’ (Rafale scam that is rocking the nation), is written by social activist S Vijayan.
According to reports, The Hindu editor N Ram was to release the book. Ram has extensively reported on an alleged scam in the deal.
Reports say that the publisher wanted the book released from a school but was denied permission following which it decided to release it at its own office.
The Hindu reports that the police team was accompanied by an election flying squad, led by S Ganesh, Assistant Executive Engineer, Thousands Lights Constituency. The report says that he also served a hand-written letter banning the book’s release and sale.
But Tamil Nadu’s Chief Electoral Officer Satyabrata Sahoo said that he had no knowledge about ECI issuing such an order.
“It looks like some lower-level functionary has done some seizure of books. There was no direction from the ECI, CEO or the DEO office for that. I think it is some flying squad officer on the information that some books without permission are being distributed,” he was quoted as saying by The News Minute.
Sahoo has reportedly ordered the DEO to conduct an immediate inquiry.
Prominent anti-BJP voices such as Prashant Bhushan and Prakash Raj condemned the development.
A book .. “RAFALE :The SCAM that rocked the NATION “ by S.Vijayan banned today and the books seized on ELECTION COMMISSION s order BUT a FILM on MODI n channels like NAMO TV spared
FREE N FAIR ELECTIONS.. !
— Prakash Raj (@prakashraaj) April 2, 2019
According to India Today, N Ram vowed to get the book released even if it meant going to the court.
Reports say that the seized copies were returned to the publisher by evening.