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Politician Arrested in South India

July 01, 2001|From Associated Press

MADRAS, India — Police arrested one of India's most powerful regional politicians, two federal ministers and hundreds of local leaders in a crackdown Saturday over a bribery scandal in the south. The violent arrests left one of the ministers injured.

Muthuvel Karunanidhi, the former chief minister of Tamil Nadu state, was dragged from his bed by police in his Madras home Saturday morning.

Video taken by relatives showed police holding the 77-year-old Karunanidhi tightly by his chest as he struggled to stay on his feet as they dragged him away.

Also arrested were Karunanidhi's son Alagiri and four state officials. Karunanidhi's other son, M.K. Stalin, whom police named as the main suspect in the bribery scandal, later surrendered.

Police also detained Karunanidhi's nephew, federal Commerce Minister Murasoli Maran, and Environment Minister T.R. Baalu, for trying to block police. Maran was injured in a scuffle.

Madras officials told police that Karunanidhi, Stalin and others had accepted bribes for contracts worth $2.6 million to build 10 overpasses.

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