Central minister TR Baalu on Tuesday blamed the media for "overplaying false allegations of distributing tainted money to voters" against Tamil Nadu minister MK Stalin.
"The media has become a willing tool in the hands of those who subvert democracy by presenting doctored versions of visuals to substantiate false allegations. Stalin certainly is not guilty," Shipping, Road Transport and Highways Minister Baalu told reporters in Chennai.
He was answering questions on visuals several television channels telecast on Monday, showing Local Administration Minister Stalin distributing money to voters in the Tirumangalam assembly constituency, 400 km south of in Chennai.
The Election Commission Monday demanded an explanation from Stalin after receiving representations from the opposition MPs.
"Virtually anything visually altered, cut or pasted can be shown on television and claimed to be truth. The opposition here, scared of losing the Tirumangalam by-elections, are spreading these canards. Stalin is a veteran politician who will never do such things," Baalu added.
Meanwhile, a court in Madurai, the nearest city to Tirumangalam, dismissed a bail petition of opposition AIADMK MLA AR Samy, presently in prison till January 13 on charges of attempting to "violently subvert the election process".
Newly posted police officials, deputy inspector general Amaresh Pujari, superintendent Prem Anand Sinha and assistant superintendent Praveen Kumar, led a flag march in the constituency where campaigning was at a feverish pitch due to the presence of several ministers and senior opposition leaders. The polling will be held January 9.
Previous officials in the same designations were transferred the Election Commission on opposition complaints of their wrongdoing at the instigation of the state's ruling DMK.
State Electricity Minister Arcot N Veerasamy accused the poll panel of acting at the behest of Leader of Opposition J Jayalalitha.