The Madras High Court has directed the Coimbatore police commissioner to investigate and take punitive action against some of the top industrialists and educationists in the city for allegedly consuming alcohol in a public place in violation of prohibitory orders.
The petitioner A. V. Karthikeyan, partner at M/s Velumani Engineering Industry, has alleged that Vidyasagar Ramadas of Mahindra Engineering Works, L. Gopalakrishnan, managing trustee of PSG Group of Institutions, his brother L. Devaraj, textile mill owner and close relative of Pricol MD, V Rajendran of V. R Foundry and a few others consumed alcohol at the Cosmopolitan Club here on September 30, 2010 even though the government had issued prohibitory orders in view of the Ayodhya verdict.
“The men opened bottles of champagne brought by L. Gopalakrishan and L. Devaraj and had a toast and served to a few other members to celebrate the victory of V. Rajendran for the president’s post in the club,” Karthikeyan said in his complaint to the police. When the police did not act, he filed a RTI petition seeking the status of his complaint, to which the police replied saying they had “strictly warned” the accused persons.
“The offence is cognizable under section 2(c) of the Crl. P.C and in such cases, it is mandatory on the part of the respondents (police) to register the complaint under Section 154 of the Cr. P.C and proceed further,” Mr Karthikeyan said in his petition filed in the Madras high court in 2012.
In a direction dated July 17, 2013, Justice Ms K. B. K. Vasuki asked the Coimbatore commissioner of police to “hold appropriate enquiry on the petitioner’s complaint dated 5.10.2010 and either to register a case, if the allegations made therein disclose commission of any cognizable offence, investigate the same and file final report, or dispose of the same in any other manner known to law, as expeditiously as possible.”
Speaking to this newspaper, commissioner A.K. Viswanathan said the police was yet to receive a copy of the court order. “However, it is a serious offence and if it is found to be true, we will proceed as per law,” he said.
When contacted, Nandakumar, representative of PSG management said, “The whole petition is motivated to tarnish image of PSG managing trustee. There is no truth in the complaint and a full fledged police inquiry was conducted at the time of the incident.”