Krishnan, an MBA gold medallist with 22 years of successful corporate career, was living a comfortable life, shuttling between Tamil Nadu and Dubai. He actively supported the BJP and expressed his views against the DMK through his social media handle. However, everything changed when he unknowingly shared a fake news card that alleged certain political leaders’ involvement with Sterlite Copper.
He had earlier worked abroad for more than ten years, primarily in West Asian countries – Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Oman. In 2022, Krishnan got a big offer from a well-known supermarket chain in Dubai.
He was active on social media and posted in support of BJP besides being a swayam sevak. He used to express his views in Tamil against the DMK and Dravidian ideology through his earlier handle – Its_Muthu_Rss. After 17 July 2023, his woes were aggravated. He made the mistake of sharing a post on social media without knowing its authenticity. He shared a news card believing it to be the original news card of a Tamil mainstream media outlet, which claimed that certain political leaders received funds from Sterlite Copper. Fake news factories churn out such things which are a regular one. The Fake “News Cards” resembling that of original ones published by various news outlets had found its way to WhatsApp and other social media on the Sterlite protest issue which are still available on the internet. He shared in his x handle.
— Krishnakumar (@kichaa83) May 25, 2018
The DMK IT wing swiftly reacted to Krishnan’s social media post and filed a complaint. This led to police officials arriving at his residence in Madurai, but they couldn’t apprehend him as he was in Dubai. A ‘Lookout Notice’ was issued against him, setting the stage for his eventual arrest.
Upon his return to Madurai on July 17, 2023, Krishnan was immediately apprehended by the Thoothukudi Cyber Crime Police at the Madurai Airport. The immigration officer’s behavior during the arrest was allegedly rude, and Krishnan claimed that he was treated like a ‘terrorist.’ He also endured verbal abuse.
According to Krishnan, he was cordoned off by an immigration officer who took him to a room for enquiry. He alleges that the immigration officer at the Madurai Airport behaved rudely and treated him like a ‘terrorist’. He was apparently told to remove his shirt and was verbally abused as “naaye” ( meaning “dog” in Tamil). They kept waiting at the airport from 11 AM (the time he landed) till 4 PM.
He was then arrested and taken to Thoothukudi by a special unit of the Thoothukudi Cyber Crime Police who seized his belongings which included Rs 18,000 in cash he had kept separately in a cover, another Rs 7,000 in cash in his purse, dirhams, gold that he had bought for his wife in Dubai, etc. Krishnan alleged that the police officials took his money to buy foods during a stopover en route. At the station, during the marathon inquiry, Inspector Sivasankaran allegedly asked him “Are you from RSS terrorist group?” and further sought details of his friends, colleagues, how many people work with him etc. Additional Superintendent of Police (ASP) Unnikrishnan asked him to accept to his crime which he refused.
After a series of events, including a medical check-up and coronavirus testing, Krishnan was remanded to judicial custody despite his willingness to furnish bail. He was lodged at the Perurani District Jail, where he spent around 8 days in the company of hardened criminals.
Upon his arrival at the jail, his passport was confiscated by SI Sudhakaran, preventing him from travelling abroad. His passport, though technically valid, was impounded by the regional passport officer in Madurai, an action allegedly in violation of the Passport Law of 1967.
According to The Commune news portal, “around 10:30 PM that Krishnan’s wife was informed of his arrest who then spoke to a lawyer for his legal aid. At 11:30 PM , he was then taken to the Thoothukudi Government Hospital for a medical check-up and for corona testing at 1:30 AM (18 July 2023). Ignoring his pleas “ ready to furnish any amount as bail as I had come to meet his family after a gap of one year and will abide by whatever conditions imposed on him, the magistrate gave remand him for judicial custody. He was lodged at the Perurani District Jail at 3:30 AM”.
At the jail, SI Sudhakaran took away his passport. Krishnan spent around 8 days in jail where he was lodged in a common room which had hardened criminals. The court granted him conditional bail and he came out on 25 July 2023. He was asked to present daily at Thoothukudi police station. After 15 days of signing as per the bail order, he petitioned the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court for relaxation of his bail conditions. It relaxed the same and he got all his belongings (dirhams, bags, gold, purse, passport, etc) except for his mobile phone. Muthu alleges that the Rs18,000 cash which was seized from him was not returned. He fought on his own without waiting for BJP or RSS.
Even after 70 days have elapsed since the FIR was filed, the Police have not yet filed a charge sheet against him. He terms ” the FIR was politically motivated, orchestrated by the DMK IT Wing,. my fundamental rights have been blatantly suppressed by curtailing his movement” . Krishnan is trying to get his case quashed. His employer terminated him from service following intimating his case details.
He can’t go abroad as the passport is with police. His passport being technically valid, the regional passport officer in Madurai has impounded it per the instructions of the Crime Police. This action is alleged to be in direct violation of the Passport Law of 1967. His passport is up for renewal and he has not been able to get it renewed because of this case.
RIght to Information! Update on 22.09.23 my passport. After that my passport got impounded by regional passport officer Madurai as per Thoothukudi cyber crime Police instructions. Police officials not willing to revoke look out notice against me even I got arrested and jailed. pic.twitter.com/rWvcuQpNGE
— மனதின் குரல் 🇮🇳(Mann Ki Batt) (@Namo3Namo) October 14, 2023
Krishnan is not an isolated case. Yesterday Hindu Munnani functionary Senthil Kumar, BJP supporter Tirupathi Kannan were lasted. Last week Na. Muthuramalingam and earlier Saravanaprasad Balasubrmaniam, vloggers Maridhass, Kishore K Swamy, Karthik gopinath, BJP leaders Kalyana raman, Uma Gargi , SG Surya , Selvakumar, John Ravi ( from Gujarat), Krishnakumar Murugan and AMMK leader TTV Dhinakaran, social media influencers Sanghi Prince, publisher Badri Seshadri etc were arrested. The list is exhaustive. Most of them arrested for criticising CM Stalin or his son Udhayanidhi Stalin. It challenges individuals may encounter when expressing their opinions against the DMK on digital platforms.
The case of Krishnan and others like him highlights the challenges individuals face when expressing their opinions against the DMK in Tamil Nadu. As Krishnan continues his legal battle and seeks the return of his confiscated belongings, it raises important questions about freedom of speech and dissent in the state.