Chennai: The editor of Tamil magazine ‘Nakkeeran’ R R Gopal was arrested by the Chennai police on Tuesday morning for allegedly defamatory articles on Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit over a sex scandal in universities.
A magistrate court in Chennai refused a judicial custody of Gopal and ordered his release on Tuesday evening.
Gopal, who was on his way to Pune to attend an event, was held at the airport. An FIR under Section 124 of the IPC had been filed against Gopal for defaming the governor, police officials said.
Even as political parties condemned the arrest and demanded the immediate release of Gopal, journalists protested in front of the Chintadripet police station.
Leader of Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK) Vaiko, who demanded that he be allowed to meet Gopal, was also detained by the police.
“I sought permission to meet Gopal, not as the MDMK leader but as an advocate to represent him. But, the police are not allowing it," said Vaiko before being taken away by the police.
Opposition leader and president of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) M.K. Stalin said, “The arrest is an open threat by the fascist BJP and the puppet AIADMK government to the freedom of expression and freedom of press."
“It is a shame that the governor and the BJP, which blatantly arrests those who oppose its ideology, are using the puppet AIADMK government to do ‘back-door’ politics in Tamil Nadu," he added.
In April, Tamil Nadu governor Banwarilal Purohit addressed the media and rejected allegations linking him to a woman assistant professor arrested for allegedly persuading students into extending sexual favours to officials.
“I don’t know the lady. Strict action will be taken if someone is found guilty," Purohit had said, dismissing all allegations as baseless.
Nirmala Devi, an assistant professor at a private college under Madurai Kamaraj University, was arrested in April after an audio tape of her encouraging students to please higher officials in return for marks and money became public.
Political parties have alleged the involvement of Purohit and have been demanding his resignation. In the audio clip, the assistant professor had claimed to know the governor, who is the chancellor of the university.