Rajinikanth may be quizzed if needed, says commission probing Sterlite police firing in Tamil Nadu

The Sterlite probe commission has questioned about 379 people so far and said it would question super star Rajinikanth if needed.
Rajinikanth had blamed miscreants for penetrating the anti-Sterlite protests that culminated in police firing(HT Photo/File)
Rajinikanth had blamed miscreants for penetrating the anti-Sterlite protests that culminated in police firing(HT Photo/File)
Updated on Aug 31, 2019 06:23 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, Chennai | ByM Manikandan

Tamil superstar and aspiring politician Rajinikanth may be interrogated if needed in connection with the May 22, 2018 police firing incident in Thoothukudi -- which killed 13 anti-Sterlite protesters, according to Justice Aruna Jagadeesan Inquiry Commission.

The single judge commission, which has questioned about 379 people about the anti-Sterlite protests and the subsequent police-firing, will now quiz organisations and people who have filed petitions on the incident before the Madras High Court.

The commission which had completed 13 phases of inquiries got an extension until February 2020. The 14th phase of the investigation was started three days ago on August 27, 2019.

When asked if the commission intended to interrogate actor Rajinikanth over his contention that anti-social elements had penetrated into Thoothukkudi, Arul Vadivelsekar, counsel for the single judge inquiry commission, said that the actor may be probed if required.

“The commission has questioned 379 people. The commission is investigating police officers who sustained injuries during the protest and revenue department officials. If needed, the commission will also question Rajinikanth. A report on the past inquiries has been submitted before the Madras High Court,” Vadivelsekar told the media.

Hours after visiting the police firing victims on May 2018, Rajinikanth had claimed that miscreants were the reason behind the police’s gun firing act.

“If people begin protesting about everything, Tamil Nadu will turn into a cremation ground. Certain anti-social elements have penetrated the anti-Sterlite protests. And because of these miscreants, violence broke out. The malefactors had drawn the ire of police, and it resulted in the firing,” Rajinikanth told the media last year but refused to divulge how he gathered this information.

“I know who entered and what they did during the protests,” the actor maintained.

Rajini had announced his political debut in December 2017. He also converted his Rajinikanth Fans Association into Rajini Makkal Mandram (RMM), which is most likely to be transformed into his political party, ahead of 2021 Tamil Nadu assembly polls.

Attempts made by HT to reach out to Rajinikanth over the inquiry commission’s stance were unsuccessful.

Meanwhile, a senior RMM officer bearer who wanted to remain anonymous, said, “Our leader Rajinikanth is a law obeying citizen. If he receives a notice from the inquiry commission, he will appear to submit his views about the police-firing in Thoothukudi,” the RMM worker noted.

Barely a week after the police firing, the Tamil Nadu government ordered the closure of the Sterlite copper smelter plant owned by the multi-crore Vedanta corporation, citing environmental hazards.

The Madras High Court, on June 27, ordered the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to submit a detailed report on the status of the case on September 16.

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