When the opposition parties of Tamil Nadu were slamming the DMK government after two DMK members were accused of sexually assaulting a woman police officer in Chennai, the apparent backing from a sitting DMK MLA for the accused members had sparked public outrage as the conduct of the legislator drawn controversy for intervening in the matter and allegedly stopping the police from taking action against the accused.
The shocking incident had troubled the DMK after which the party had temporarily suspended both the accused while they were arrested by the Chennai police on Tuesday. Before their arrest, sitting DMK MLA Prabhakara Raja of Virugambakkam came in support of the accused that they could have touched the woman constable by mistake.
On December 31, a woman constable from the Virugambakkam police was among a team of police officers who was deployed to the DMK's party event that held in Dasarathapuram. The event was organized to mark the centenary birth anniversary of late DMK stalwart, K Anbazhagan, who served as DMK's general secretary for a long time. The event was attended by senior DMK leaders including MPs Kanimozhi and Thamizhachi Thangapandian.
Virugambakkam DMK MLA Prabhakara Raja was also present in the event that seen the attendance of hundreds of DMK functionaries. Later during the meeting, two members of DMK's youth wing, Praveen and Egambaram were drunk and sexually harassed a woman police constable. While they were molesting the woman constable, a male police officer noticed the shocking incident and detained one of the two accused, while the other accused fled the spot.
Hours later, the police had arrested the fled accused. After being harassed, the woman constable lodged a complaint against the two DMK members only to withdrew it later. She took back her complaint on January 2 after both the accused Praveen and Egambaram issued an apology letter at the Koyambedu Deputy Commissioner's Office in which the accused claimed that the incident was unintentional and happened due to a huge crowd at the meeting.
MLA Prabhakara Raja intervened in the matter and allegedly asked the police not to proceed with the matter. It has also been reported that the affected woman constable had withdrawn her complaint due to pressure. After several opposition parties including ADMK and BJP had furiously flayed the DMK government, the Chennai police have arrested the two accused and taken them into judicial custody. The police have registered a case against Praveen and Egambaram under sections 353 - assaulting a public servant and 354- sexual harassment of the IPC, along with provisions of the Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Harassment of Women Act.
Though the police have apprehended the accused under the grounds of sexual harassment, DMK MLA Prabhakara Raja had come in support for Praveen and Egambaram and denied that they have harassed the woman constable and that their hands might have touched by mistake. Speaking to India Today, Prabhakara Raja said, "There are no clips of molesting woman constable."
"When inquired, they said that it was just a push and pull. They are not womanisers and their hand might have touched her (woman constable) by mistake. The woman officer would have been sensitive", the MLA added. Responding to whether he had intervened the police not to arrest the accused DMK members, the legislator said, "That's not right. But it happened because a partyman was arrested and beaten even before the crime was proven."